Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Welcomes New Deputy
Last month, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) hired JCSO deputy, Chauncey Hauptman.He may look familiar to some of the city’s residents. Growing up, he spent a great deal of time in Kadoka visiting his maternal grandparents, Kadoka City Mayor Harry Weller and his wife, Nancy. Hauptman grew up in Murdo with his parents, Heath and Brandee, and his younger brother, Blaine. Hauptman recalled that during his childhood, he experienced the positive influence of an older cousin who attended the South Dakota Law Enforcement Academy in Pierre and graduated from the program in 2009.
It was during high school when Chauncey Hauptman experienced an epiphany after meeting South Dakota Highway Patrol Officers Jason Hamer and Slade Ross. After visiting with them, he determined what ultimately became his destiny—to protect and serve his community as a law enforcement officer. Hauptman graduated from Jones County High School in May 2018 with 13 classmates. To confirm his choice of vocation, Hauptman took advantage of an opportunity in June 2018 when he and 23 other select South Dakota high school juniors and seniors participated in the seventh annual Youth Trooper Academy held at the Mickelson Law Enforcement Training Center in Pierre. The week-long program, sponsored by the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the South Dakota American Legion, consists of classes and field training with a hands-on approach in “firearms safety, defensive driving, crash investigation, traffic stops, leadership and citizenship.” The program parallels that of the program for highway patrol recruits. “This is an opportunity for the students to learn what being in law enforcement or the military is actually like,” said Col. Rick Miller, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “They are learning that you have to be committed to the profession to be a good law enforcement officer.”
Hauptman enrolled at Western Dakota Technical College (WDT) where he completed two years of studies in the criminal justice program, obtaining his Associate of Applied Sciences degree in May 2021. In lieu of attending the basic training program at the South Dakota Law Enforcement Academy in Pierre, Hauptman obtained reciprocity based upon his vocational education and training at WDT. “If an officer is eligible for reciprocity certification from another state or approved Vocational Technical program, he/she is required to pass the reciprocity exam with a 70 percent rate, along with completing certain portions of legal instruction and skills testing as determined by the Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission.”
The training program at the state academy culminates into 520 hours for the basic certification involving classroom instruction and field training. During his last semester at WDT, Hauptman completed 600 hours of basic certification which offered more intensive instruction and training. Hauptman completed the associate degree program in order to be a better law enforcement officer with the additional classroom skills bolstering his field training which helps him respond to calls that present a variety of scenarios ranging from domestic violence to drunk drivers.
Hauptman knew it was a “different route to take” by going to a vocational school, graduating with a degree in criminal justice and having the “ability to test out,” obtaining the reciprocity for certification as a South Dakota law enforcement officer. WDT offers the criminal justice program and an additional criminal justice program that includes an emphasis specifically upon law enforcement. The program gives graduates “the skills and experiences you need to be successful in a wide variety of career fields. Since both are two-year Associate of Applied Science programs, you will be in the workforce quickly, ready to make our communities better.” He chose to complete the program at WDT as he could also utilize his associate degree to pursue other career opportunities in more specialized fields such as a homicide investigator, a border patrol agent or sex trafficking investigator. His father, who is a second-generation farmer, always told him, “If you do anything, get something to fall back on if you can’t do any farming.” While attending WDT, Hauptman’s grade point average placed him on the WDT Dean’s List multiple times, and he graduated from WDT in May 2021. His education, training and work experience coupled with his work ethic have provided him with the opportunity to make a difference, to protect the helpless and serve those in need. After graduation, the Pierre City Police Department offered him a position as a city officer in December 2021. He worked for the Pierre City Police Department until accepting the deputy position with the JCSO in February 2023.
In January 2023, the City of Kadoka and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office entered into a contractual agreement where the JCSO agrees to provide an officer to respond to calls from Kadoka residents routed through the Pennington County Emergency Operations Center to the JCSO. Jackson County Sheriff Tucker Amiotte immediately began the search for a third officer to provide law enforcement services specifically for the residents of Kadoka. When entering the agreement, the JCSO staff consisted of only Sheriff Amiotte and JCSO Chief Deputy Jon Beck, who also serves as the emergency manager for Jackson County. After reviewing applications and interviewing potential candidates, Hauptman seemed a natural fit for the position in Kadoka based upon his educational accomplishments and he was already familiar with the community and knows some of its residents. Hauptman recalled that he “visited all the time and helped grandpa with the track. I was called his shadow. I even have the ‘Harry Weller’ walk.” Hauptman grew up in Murdo, so he is familiar with smaller communities and their needs and worked in Pierre for a little over one year which provided a good experience for him to work in a larger community. Hauptman achieved two milestones within the last year by marrying his wife, Mackenzie, in a ceremony in Murdo in June 2022 and accepting a new job in February 2023. The next milestone for Chauncey and Mackenzie includes plans to “someday” start a family. In the meantime, the newlyweds are parents to their pet Labrador, Townes.