South Dakota Federal Law Enforcement Jobs

Over 62,000 criminal offenses were reported in South Dakota in 2012 along with over $20 million of property losses.  Eleven federal law enforcement agencies are active in South Dakota helping to fight and prevent such criminal activity.  The state has not been subject to internationally active terrorists, but it does have a history of agro-terrorists that are ramping up their efforts again.

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Over 200 federal officers with the power to carry firearms and perform arrests were active in South Dakota in 2008.  Residents of South Dakota who seek to join these agents and have careers in federal law enforcement are highly screened when they apply to work for federal agencies.

Typically, obtaining such jobs requires at least a bachelor’s degree.  It is not uncommon for applicants to have advanced degrees in fields such as criminal justice.  The FBI welcomes applicants from an array of fields.  Linguists are in particular demand at the moment, although accountants, engineers, and computer scientists are welcome to apply.

Recruits for federal agencies are highly trained to guarantee their success in the field.  Typically, this involves temporary relocation to the mid-Atlantic area.  For instance, FBI and DEA recruits undergo training at their respective departments’ academies in Quantico, Virginia.  In addition to academic study in the classroom, recruits learn skills such as using firearms and driving in pursuit.  Rigorous physical conditioning is another aspect of their training.

Federal Law Enforcement Operations in South Dakota

Interagency Operations:  Given the complexity of many criminal enterprises, federal law enforcement agencies frequently work closely with each other and with state and local agencies to thwart criminal activities in South Dakota.  Often the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services is involved in these activities to help fight crime on Indian reservations.

  • The 14 month investigation Operation Thunder led to the filing of drug trafficking charges against 17 people on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.  The FBI, BIA, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, and the US Marshal’s Service coordinated their efforts with tribal and local law enforcement agencies to bring about these arrests.


  • United Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET) is a multi-agency task force that operates in Pennington, Custer, Fall River, and Meade Counties.  It brings together state and local authorities who work closely with the DEA and the ATF to seize large quantities of drugs and convict drug offenders in the area.  2011 activities included the following:


    • Disruption of 35 drug trafficking organizations
    • Seizure of over $300,000 in currency and $49,000 of property


  • Due to joint efforts by ICE, FBI, and Homeland Security Investigations along with state and local authorities, a Sioux Falls man was sentenced to 3 life sentences for the sex trafficking of adults and minors.


  • Joint Fugitive Task Forces:
    • Rapid City:  US Marshals, ATF, BIA
    • Sioux Falls:  US Marshals, ATF
    • Pierre:  US Marshals

FBI:  Perhaps the most famous FBI activity in South Dakota was its involvement in the Wounded Knee Incident of 1973.  Several hundred followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

FBI agents and US Marshals cordoned off the area, which suffered from sporadic violence for several months.  Eventually, an accord was reached.  Several FBI agents were killed while trying to serve warrants for crimes committed during this time.  Four people were indicted for the murders with a conviction finally being obtained for Leonard Peltier.

Crime on reservations continued to be of concern, and in 2006, the Minneapolis Division opened a Child Advocacy Center in Pierre to address such crimes.

A recent FBI success that prevented crimes against children in South Dakota took place during the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  Nine individuals sought to pay for sex with underage girls, but they were negotiating with FBI agents in a sting operation.  The agents were operating as part of the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Federal Law Enforcement Offices in South Dakota


  • Rapid City Satellite Office
  • Sioux Falls Field Office


  • Cheyenne River
  • Crow Creek
  • Lower Brule
  • Pine Ridge
  • Rosebud
  • Sisseton
  • Yankton


  • Sioux Falls Regional Airport


  • Aberdeen
  • Pierre
  • Rapid City
  • Sioux Falls

Secret Service:

  • Sioux Falls


  • Sioux Falls Regional Airport

US Marshals Service:

  • Sioux Falls


Federal Crime in South Dakota

In 1997, animal rights activists released about 3,000 mink valued at $90,000 from the former Turbak Mink Ranch in South Dakota.  Regrettably, many of the animals died before they could be recaptured.  Such activists became active again in 2013 and produced an online list of South Dakota mink farms, fox farms, and federal research facilities with suggestions of how to attack them.

Cyber-terrorism is another concern for federal law enforcement agents in South Dakota.  The state has the largest amount of bank assets of any state in the country:  $2.5 trillion in 2013.  The re-location of CitiBank to Sioux Falls has spawned a powerhouse of key data centers and high-capacity overnight delivery services.

These have been utilized by mail order pharmacies that require strong security for their customers’ transactions and medical information.  Thus, the security of computer based information is highly important for South Dakota’s business economy.

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