To Serve and To Protect... PART 4: Meet the rest of the Hot Springs Police Department officers

The fourth in a series of stories focusing on the law enforcement departments of Hot Springs and Fall River County

By Charity Maness

HOT SPRINGS – Now fully staffed with eight full-time police officers, the Hot Springs Police Department is actively being more visible in the community.

Last week, the newspaper profiled four of the departments newest officers. This week, we are featuring the remaining three men within the department.

Phillip Shively - Captain

Positive interaction with a police officer at a young age carried Shively to where he is today; Captain, Hot Springs Police Department.

 “In 7th grade, a Washoe County (Nevada) Sheriff’s deputy came and spoke to our class,” said Shively, “he was one of the most genuine people that I had ever met.  He cared and he showed it. He wrote his phone number on the blackboard so we could call him at any time if we needed to talk about anything. That made a lasting impression.”

As the years went on this officer would take the time out of his day to spend with the young Shively, teaching him what he knew of being a police officer. 

“We are still very close friends today,” he said of his law enforcement mentor.

Life moved on, yet in 2008, after serving as tribal missionaries in Papua, New Guinea, for 10 years, the Shively family moved to Hot Springs to teach at the Bible School.

With his early memories of the positive community centric mission of law enforcement, he began his journey in 2015 as a reserve officer for Hot Springs Police Department and attended the police academy earning awards for Top Gun, Blue Courage Award and Most Inspirational.

But he says the awards are not the motivation to continue in law enforcement, it’s the people.

“I truly enjoy helping people,” he said, “with whatever they need help with, depending on the situation.”   

Case in point.

Last year Shively arrested a person twice during the same, yet after graduating from an 8-month rehab program, that person is now volunteering and helping others. . 

“I’ve been praying for that opportunity ever since I started,” he said. “I am thankful I was able to have a small part in it. I love the fact that I can meet people in possibly one of their worst situations and help them start the climb back up.”

Shively hopes to make a positive impression in the community and shares a gem of wisdom with the youth of the community, “Don’t be typical, learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others and don’t repeat them, excel and be better for it.” Adding, “And come talk to me about the SD state motto.” (Under God the People Rule)

“Everyone has been made in the image of God, treat them as such.”

Thomas McMillan - Hot Springs School Resource Officer 2-S

 “I followed in my dad’s footsteps and advice going into law enforcement,” said McMillan of his decision to enter law enforcement. “Before he passed, he was a detective for 20 years in Florida, head of vice, a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent and later, Chief of police in Georgia outside of Atlanta.” 

McMillan began his law enforcement career in the U.S. Coast Guard-Boarding Officer with Drug Interdiction & Search and Rescue, stationed at Miami Beach, Fla.

He then spent almost 20 years working with adults/juveniles in Corrections with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. As well as time spent wearing a badge in Martin and Box Elder.

But along with the experience of the military, college and the various law enforcements agencies, McMillan brought with him the life experiences of growing up on the streets of Miami and New York, bringing a full circle understanding of the skills needed to complete the job, and embrace it, with empathy as well as strength.

“When you enter law enforcement, you are taught and told to never take the job home,” he said. “But that is not the case. If you are truly invested in the career to serve and protect of upholding the badge, then the job of being in law enforcement becomes a 24/7 lifestyle. It will tear you down and build you up, at your very core of who you truly are as a person on all levels. In today’s times with society’s perception of law enforcement, it is now much more important we ourselves raise the bar to meet that challenge also.” 

In 2019 McMillan moved to Fall River County to accept a job at the Sheriff’s Office, as he was also seeking “a small town rural life and supportive law enforcement community”.

By early 2022 McMillan was hired as the first ever Hot Springs school resource officer with Hot Springs Police Department and has been functioning in that capacity ever since.

“The rewards are honestly sometimes small and not openly seen by those watching from the outside,” he said of his work, “For myself, it is being counted on in times of need by those who society tends to push aside or ignore, our youth and the elderly. Helping one of them through a mental health crisis, abuse, or neglect situation and/or being a person that they just need to talk too. That is the reward for me.”

With a special place in his heart for youth he offers some advice, “We as adults have all been there, have made the same mistakes and all of us have ‘skeletons in our closet’ from our past. Nobody is perfect at all, including myself. You will hit bumps in the road as you travel in life, hopefully not the big ones. It always comes down to the choices you make which will dictate how you move forward into adulthood. Keep your head up high, finish your education and do not let anybody tell you your dreams or goals are not attainable. And if you need help or any kind of assistance, my door is always open to you all.

Justin Richardson - Patrol/Training Officer

Justin Richardson grew up in Littleton, Colo., where, during his senior year in high school the Columbine shooting tore apart lives.

“My desire for law enforcement and EMS began then,” said Richardson, “with my hopes to be able to stop an event like this from happening again, or to have the skills necessary to stop it before more lives are lost.”

From this tragic experience Richardson embarked on a life long journey to help, to save, to protect.

Justin Richardson began his law enforcement career in 2003 in the U.S. Air Force Security Forces and merged into civilian service in 2011as a Police Officer with the City of Idaho Springs, Colo., serving that community for 8 years. While working in Colorado, Richardson was a member of the Rocky Mountain Combined Tactical Team and functioned as a sniper and entry team member.

In 2019, he was hired by Custer County Sheriff’s Office, but not one to rest, Richardson soon gained his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and soon thereafter his Advanced EMT. He used those skills working for Custer Ambulance Service and the Hot Springs Ambulance Service.

Yet law enforcement’s pull called him back and in October 2022 he was hired by the Hot Springs Police department as the department’s training officer.

Richardson currently holds certifications in Non-Violent Crisis Interventions, Standard Field Sobriety testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), RADAR, LIDAR, Def Tech less lethal instructor, Field Training Officer (FTO), Drug Interdiction, Taser Instructor, Rifle Armorer, Glock Armorer, Advanced EMT, SWAT and sniper. 

Richardson is also a Volunteer Fire Fighter serving with the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department. 

A motto he lives by is: “You must not hate those who do wrong or harmful things; but with compassion, you must do what you can to stop them – for they are harming themselves, as well as those who suffer from their actions.” - Dalai Lama

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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