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Highway Patrol trains South Dakota youth recruits


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) – A group of South Dakota teens trained this week with the Highway Patrol at the Youth Trooper Academy in Pierre. It was co-sponsored by the American Legion.

Nineteen young adults were selected from 60 applicants located all over South Dakota. This is the third year for the academy, which is geared for young adults who have finished their junior or senior year of High School.

“The youth cadets became a high functioning team this week at the Youth Trooper Academy,” Lt. Randi Erickson, director of Training and Professional Standards for the Highway Patrol said. “They took pride in staying positive and helping each other achieve high levels of performance.”

“The Youth Trooper Academy allows us the opportunity to reach young people in our state interested in law enforcement,” Tim Jurgens, commander of the South Dakota American Legion said. “The youth of today are the future for tomorrow.”

Shannon Swenson, a 19-year-old youth cadet from Tea, S.D., planning to enter a criminal justice science program in South Dakota next year, said “My favorite part of the academy was my fellow cadets. We were a team that supported each other and always stayed positive. Every one of the Highway Patrol trooper leaders was very supportive.”

During the week, veteran Highway Patrol troopers serve as mentors and chaperones for the academy. Troopers and officers from other law-enforcement agencies throughout the state, provide classroom and hands-on training in firearms safety, defensive driving, crash investigation, traffic stops, leadership, police service dog handling, citizenship and criminal law.

This year’s academy opened Monday morning, June 23, and finished with a graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon, June 27.

For a picture of the youth cadets click on the following link:http://dps.sd.gov/enforcement/highway_patrol/youth_trooper_academy_2014.htm