When a law enforcement officer visited a second grade classroom, it piqued an interest in a profession that led Officer Allen Robbennolt to Gettysburg 17 years later.
“When I was eight years old a Kansas City Police Officer came to our school to show off the K-9 dog,” he said, explaining that as he grew older, he developed more interest in law enforcement because there was something different every day. He described dealing with situations and having different problems to solve. “In law enforcement you’re involved in the community,” he said. “You make a career out of it by how well you want to do in this profession.”
Officer Robbennolt graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls from the Class of 2011. He went on to study at Southeast Tech and graduated in 2013 with a degree in Law Enforcement. It’s no coincidence that he was interested in the position with the Gettysburg Police Department. He has connections to the community through his grandparents, Ed and Judy Robbennolt, and he is the son of 1983 GHS graduate, Dan Robbennolt. Last year, he added his wife, Abby, to his family when they were married in May of 2017. He also has a brother, Jasen, and sister, Marysa, and his mother is Blanca. The family is rounded out with two playful Havanese dogs, Tucker and Toby.
“I started getting into law enforcement at the age of 17 by joining the Minnehaha County Explorers program,” he said, describing the Explorers program as a way to help youth learn and develop leadership skills as well as career growth. “I was in the Explorers program until I aged out at 21 and I spent most of my time doing ride-alongs and learning from different deputies.” In 2014 he put in an application with the Minnehaha County Police Reserves, which is a volunteer organization that helps law enforcement agencies in the county with detail requests and responds to emergency situations when requested. He credited both organizations for providing him the opportunity to do community service and to learn and grow in law enforcement.
One of the challenges he has faced with the new position is getting acquainted with the layout of the area in order to rapidly respond to the correct locations when needed. “I would have to say (a challenge is) learning the street signs and house numbers because some are not posted and I am new to town,” he said.
Officer Robbennolt said that while people in law enforcement are having first hand encounters with situations that the average citizen only learns about through the news, that part of the job is balanced by his personal goals. “I want to become proficient in my career,” he said, “and to make sure the town of Gettysburg is a safe place to live.” He finds ways to unwind from his day by going for a run, or playing video and computer games.
Being on the beat in Gettysburg has helped him draw some good conclusions about his new position with the police department. “I’ve noticed this town is very welcoming and people in the community are helpful to one another,” he said. He is on staff along with the department’s Chief of Police David Mogard.
If you need assistance from the Gettysburg Police Department, the office is located on Blaine Avenue next to the Little Angels Park behind the hospital, and the non-emergency direct line is 765-9600. Of course, in case of emergency, dial 911.