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Highway Patrol Hosts Seventh Annual Youth Trooper Academy June 25-29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 22, 2018

CONTACT: Tony Mangan, Public Information Officer, 605-773-6196


Highway Patrol Hosts Seventh Annual

Youth Trooper Academy June 25-29


PIERRE, S.D. – A different type of summer experience is on tap next week for 24 South Dakota high schools students.


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


Students who attend 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.


“We know many of these students may consider a career in law enforcement or the military.  This is an excellent opportunity for them to develop their leadership skills and experience the same training as our Highway Patrol recruits,” says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “This week gives the students a better idea of the commitment needed to become a good law enforcement officer.”


Academy participants were selected by representatives from the Highway Patrol and American Legion. Most of those chosen are high school  juniors or seniors. There are 16 males and eight females.


“We have enjoyed this partnership with the South Dakota Highway Patrol,” says South Dakota American Legion Commander Denny Brenden of Watertown. “This is another way we can help young people become our future leaders.”


Academy activities begin Monday, June 25, and end with a graduation ceremony on Friday, June 29. Also during the week, the Youth Trooper Academy participants will do a community service project.


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


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


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


*** Zakary Mau, Lead-Deadwood


*** Dominick Oedekoven, Sturgis Brown


*** Chauncey Hauptman, Jones County


*** Maria Pecora, Rapid City Stevens


*** William Spangenberg, Stanley County


*** Kassidy Dyer, Highmore


*** Barry Johnson, Highmore


*** Carson Kunz, Eureka


*** Rachel Braun, Aberdeen Central


*** Bryson Witte, Frederick Area


*** Mathew Smith, Brookings


*** Austin Kurkowski, Waverly


*** Abby Engel, Watertown


*** Alec Nelson, Mitchell Christian


*** Maximillian Donavan, Chamberlain


*** Chasity Vissia, Wessington Springs


*** Joseph Ortiz, Mitchell Public


*** Joseph Rentschler, Sioux Falls O’Gorman


*** Jorden Johnson, Brandon Valley


*** Baylee Beaner, Tri-Valley


*** Ashley Hohn, West Central


*** Bailey Parker, Gayville-Volin


*** Ryne Whisler, Vermillion


*** Kara Mulheron, Vermillion