Rep. Kristi Noem, along with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, today joined Rapid City-area law enforcement in a first-hand look at local drug crime and policing challenges. In addition to meeting with officers, Noem and Gowdy visited the 24/7 Program (an alternative to jail for those with substance abuse convictions) and the Juvenile Services Center (a detention facility for young offenders).

“Over the last decade, South Dakota has seen a significant rise in violent and drug-related crimes. The cycle needs to end,” said Noem. “South Dakota law enforcement officers have worked incredibly hard to keep communities safe in the face of rising challenges. I was grateful Trey and I could meet with them, share ideas and best practices, and discuss opportunities to better ensure South Dakota leads the nation in safety.”

“Law enforcement officers across the nation dedicate their lives to the precept which undergirds our country, our way of life, and our republic - respect for and adherence to the rule of law,” said Gowdy. “I am thankful for Kristi’s commitment to supporting law enforcement and am appreciative of today's opportunity to discuss how we, as Members of Congress, can best assist our officers and work to reduce drug-related crime in South Dakota, South Carolina, and all around the country.”

For six years as a federal prosecutor, Gowdy prosecuted the full range of federal crimes, including narcotics trafficking rings. As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Gowdy enhanced and expanded Drug Court and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction. He now serves as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which works to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government.

In 2016, Noem and Gowdy joined to help pass the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, which broadened the scope of people subject to criminal prosecution for drug traffickers. Months later, they joined again to help pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which aimed to enhance coordination between criminal justice, substance abuse agencies, and first responders, among other things. Both bills became law in May 2016 and July 2016, respectively.

Earlier this year, Noem and Gowdy voted to pass the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, which would allow Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants to be used for hiring and training law enforcement officers. Over the last five years, South Dakota has received $13 million in COPS grants. The legislation passed the House and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

In addition to these efforts, Noem has cosponsored legislation to strengthen the border against illegal immigration and drug trafficking, ensure border spotters for drug traffickers can be held accountable, and close a gap in shipping rules that could be exploited by drug traffickers. She has also been in close contact with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the rising levels of drug abuse and violence in South Dakota.

Beyond drug enforcement and policing, Noem and Gowdy discussed efforts to combat human trafficking in Rapid City.

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