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Sixth Annual Youth Trooper Academy June 26-30

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 23, 2017
CONTACT: Tony Mangan, Public Information Officer, 773-6196


Sixth Annual Youth Trooper Academy June 26-30


PIERRE, S.D. – What it is like to train to become a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper will be experienced by 24 South Dakota high school students next week.


The sixth annual Youth Trooper Academy is being held at the Mickelson Law Enforcement Training Center in Pierre. It is sponsored by the Highway Patrol and the South Dakota American Legion.


“This program has been tremendously successful,” says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “This is a chance for high school students, who may be looking at a career in law enforcement, to see up close what it takes to become a Highway Patrol trooper.”


Academy participants were selected by representatives from the Highway Patrol and American Legion. Most of those chosen are high school  juniors or seniors.


Students attending the Youth Trooper Academy will experience the same training as required for Highway Patrol recruits. The high school students will participate in classroom and hands-on training in areas such as firearms safety, defensive driving, crash investigation, traffic stops, leadership and citizenship. Each day, the academy recruits have a flag raising ceremony at 7:45 a.m. and also will be required to properly make their beds and keep their rooms clean.


Also during the week, the Youth Trooper Academy participants will do a community service project. They will be painting the interior cat rooms and hallways at PAWS Animal Rescue in Pierre.


Academy activities begin Monday, June 26, and end with a graduation ceremony on Friday, July 1.


Col. Price says the program has worked because of the partnership between the Highway Patrol and the American Legion. “The American Legion’s role has been significant because of its long history of youth oriented programs,” he says. “The American Legion has helped the Highway Patrol reach out to interested students.”


And the Academy has helped participants make career choices. Currently, four Youth Trooper Academy graduates are working for South Dakota law enforcement agencies.


Veteran Highway Patrol troopers will serve as mentors and leaders. Troopers and officers from other law enforcement agencies will be the instructors.


South Dakota American Legion Commander Hugh “Homer” Holmes of Mitchell calls the Youth Trooper Academy an important Legion youth program.


“We look forward to this program every year because it is another way to help young people become leaders,” he says. “We also are pleased to work with the Highway Patrol on such a worthy project.”


The Highway Patrol is part of the Department of Public Safety.


Those attending the Youth Trooper Academy and their high schools are:


*** Isaac Doten, Sturgis Brown


*** Edgar Meza, Spearfish


*** Terrell Janis, Pine Ridge


*** Nicholas Kochutin, Douglas


*** Alex Merchen, Hot Springs


*** Elise Wheeler, Philip


*** Sarah Eckert, Pierre T.F. Riggs


*** Dillon Axtell, Pierre T.F. Riggs


*** Colten Nelson, Gregory


**** Sydnie Cloutier, Brandon Valley


*** Makala Hauge, Warner


*** Jordan Zahn, Mobridge-Pollock


*** Summer Adler, Deuel


*** Jackson Stoltenburg, Deuel


*** Madison Weidner, Watertown


*** Katelyn Karhoff, Mitchell Christian


*** Eryn Schlotte, Huron


*** Kolton Kribell, Beresford


*** Austin Stromberg, McCook Central


*** Catherine Vogel, Dell Rapids St. Mary’s


*** Wyatt Duncan, Avon


*** Derek Pelton, Avon


*** Cody Fischer, Tripp Delmont


*** Merlye Mason, Yankton