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Highway Patrol, American Legion Hosting Youth Trooper Academy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 13, 2021

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


Highway Patrol, American Legion Hosting Youth Trooper Academy


PIERRE, S.D. – Selected South Dakota high school students are learning about life as a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper this week.


The 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 is the ninth year for the event, which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.


The high school students participate in classroom and hands-on training in areas such as firearms safety, defensive driving, crash investigation, traffic stops, leadership and citizenship.


“If a student has ever thought about joining law enforcement, this is their chance to experience it first hand,” said Col. Rick Miller, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “Some of our current troopers went through this academy as high school students and many of them have told us that being part of the Youth Academy deepened their desire to eventually join the Highway Patrol.”


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 23 total participants. Academy activities began Monday and end with a graduation ceremony Friday. 


“This academy is not only about law enforcement, but also developing these young people into leaders,” said South Dakota American Legion Commander Gary Wolkow of DeSmet. “This is another way that the American Legion can help prepare for the future.”


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


Those attending the Youth Trooper Academy and their high schools are: Gelatea Pauling, Sturgis Brown; Shelby Swets, Spearfish; Riley Bock, Rapid City Central; Mitchell Miller, Rapid City Stevens; Noah Weishaar, New Underwood; Faith Maunu, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Andruw Fredericksen, Stanley County High School; Cole Peterson, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Adisson Westergren, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Darin McGaugh, Fredrick; Marcos Garcia, Groton; Cameron Schmidt, Redfield; Kolby Merkel, Clark; Trevor Donbroski, Deubrook; Wyatt Anderson, Willow Lake; Jasmine Feild, Huron; Nyomi Mahrt, Plankinton; Samantha Torguson, Iroquois; Porter Walz, Wessington Springs; Oliviyah Thornton, Garretson; Jaden Koll, Sioux Falls Roosevelt; Ashton Gabriel, Madison; and, Riley Folkers, Yankton.