By Dave Pfeifle, SDPAA Executive Director
My grandmother was a dress-maker in Armour, Menno, and Beresford, who frequently told me that a stitch in time saves nine. While I have never understood the sewing reference, the adage means any work done now will save so much more work later.
This old adage applies to local governments who have so many new “opportunities” on their horizon. Any work we do now to prepare to meet these opportunities will save us that much more work in the future. SDPAA Members have an estimated 11,000 employees and officials serving their local communities. We all need to stay current to better serve our constituents. In the coming months, please watch for these new training opportunities:
1. Cyber Credit Program: the SDPAA will launch a cyber credit program this year that will provide financial incentives for Members to improve their “cyber hygiene.” The credits will be in the form of reductions/refunds to your entity’s annual SDPAA contribution for successfully completing various steps. Spoiler alert: one main focus will be signing up for the free cyber security assessments with Dakota State University’s Project Boundary Fence at . Please visit for more information.
Another main focus will be for your entity to designate a “cyber representative” who will be able to receive any cyber-related inquiries and will be able to alert everyone else in your entity about any training opportunities. These cyber representatives will not need to be IT experts. Instead, they will need to complete a few hours of free on-line trainings so that anyone in your organization could act as its cyber representative.
2. Enhanced Cyber Trainings: we are working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the State of South Dakota, the SD Association of County Commissioners, and the SDML to provide additional cyber training opportunities both on-line and in-person at various conferences and workshops throughout this year. More to come.
3. Enhanced Elections Trainings: we are working with the SD Secretary of State’s Office and election law experts Sara Frankenstein and Rich Williams to provide additional trainings and workshops for local election officials and their local attorneys in the coming months.
4. Enhanced Security Awareness Trainings: we are working with federal and state law enforcement agencies as well as Safety Benefits, Inc. (SBI), our training and loss control vendor, to provide additional resources for trainings and loss control surveys for enhanced security awareness. These modern times have demonstrated that all of us, no matter where we are located in South Dakota, could increase our security awareness. More to come.
Each year the SDPAA through SBI provides thousands of hours of training opportunities. This past year, 1,725 Member employees attended 69 in-person trainings, even during a roll-back due to the pandemic. Sixty Members completed 3,756 on-line courses, with multiple attendees for every Member. Forty-eight Members viewed 1,059 training videos, with multiple attendees. Forty-nine Member law enforcement agencies completed 3,697 training courses.
The SDPAA has committed additional resources so that in-person law enforcement trainings will be available on-site to each Member with a local jail on a regular basis. Each year the SDPAA co-sponsors a Safety and Loss Control Conference attended by hundreds of Members’ employees. The SDPAA sponsors speakers and trainings for thousands of Members’ employees on a wide variety of topics at events throughout the year. The SDPAA trainings are so extensive and comprehensive that most Members rely on the SDPAA training opportunities to satisfy all their training needs every year. Members can then devote their training budget savings to other public projects that benefit their communities.
The SDPAA Board of Directors and your internal SDPAA team want to assist you in your public service mission. We are your fellow public employees who share your passion for servant leadership. If you have any questions or would like your public entity to explore becoming a Member of the SDPAA, please contact the SDPAA at 800-658-3633 option 2 or by email at email@example.com.
Hyde County has been a Member of the SDPAA since 2003. We are very happy with the services provided to our County. Member Services and the Underwriting Department have been quick to respond whether it was a claim or questions. They are very easy to work with and have always followed up on any issues we have had.Marilyn Ring, Hyde County Auditor