Bad news is rarely convenient. Crime doesn't always happen during bankers' hours, and fires don't wait until the sun comes up.
Today, we applaud law enforcement responders to last week's 14-hour chase and standoff and officer-involved shooting in McCook County.
Authorities worked an intense, lengthy shift under extreme circumstances. They were a model of good police work.
The incident started at about 1:30 a.m. May 3. A McCook County deputy — whose name was not released — tried to pull over a Ford Mustang for a traffic-related offense. The suspect drove off, initiating a pursuit. Gunfire was exchanged and the deputy was shot in the arm.
A manhunt began in the wee hours of the morning, leading to a standoff with the suspect, Matthew Rumbolz, 37, of Montrose. More than 12 hours later, Rumbolz was taken into custody about 3:30 p.m. without incident.
This all could have been much, much worse, but for law enforcement's handling of the event.
Officials had to mobilize quickly, likely with not a lot of information. They had to stay focused on the task at hand knowing that one of their brothers was injured. They had to get word out fast to the media, to schools, to other law agencies, to keep folks on high alert.
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader spoke with neighbor Karen Smith, who lives in the area of the incident. She said a county sheriff came to her door at 3 a.m. to apprise her of the situation, and give her options to stay in with the doors locked or leave for safety.
All this while a shooting suspect was on the loose; officials had to stay focused and diligent.
A standoff with an armed suspect can be a tedious, stressful event. From all reports, local and state authorities managed the incident properly, leading to a peaceful resolution — impressive, given that the man in custody is accused of shooting one of their own.
During the event, authorities set up a command center and offered near-hourly briefings to media with updated information. In a situation like this, there might not be a whole heck of a lot to report. But creating a planned, regular media availability keeps police from being bogged down in questions, and puts the community's well-being and security above all else.
We must also applaud the media — the Argus Leader and Sioux Falls broadcast stations — who kept citizens in Madison and around the state up to date beginning in the early-morning hours. By using all available resources, including social media, South Dakota was kept well-informed.
We have been there, at those late-night police incidents, and know that covering them is not an easy task. Even local journalists are sometimes in harm's way, but that is part of the risk in keeping our citizens up to date.
One citizen certainly noticed; we saw media outlets tweeting to a good Samaritan who brought Diet Coke for journalists covering the standoff.
Not every event will end this way: the deputy who was shot is recovering; the suspect is taken into custody; with only minor inconveniences, citizens were able to safely go about their days. Everyone went back home to their families.
But in this case, good work led to good results.
This editorial appeared in the May 9 edition of the American News of Aberdeen, South Dakota.