A day in the life: Area students among nearly two dozen attending Highway Patrol's Youth Trooper Academy

“Some of our current troopers participated in the academy as high school students, and they say their Youth Academy experience helped deepen their interest in joining the Highway Patrol,” said Col. Rick Miller.

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PIERRE — High school students from 18 different school districts across the state are currently experiencing the what a day in the life of a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper looks like.

Nearly two dozen students headed to Pierre on Monday to attend the annual Youth Trooper Academy, held at the Mickelson Law Enforcement Training Center in Pierre. The event, now in its 10th year, is sponsored by the Highway Patrol and the South Dakota American Legion.

From the area, Andes Central's Chel Larson, Chamberlain's Derrick Rasmussen, Mount Vernon's Devynn Nelson and White Lake's Jacob Novak are attending.

Academy activities began Monday, June 20, and end with a graduation ceremony Friday, June 24. The students will participate in classroom and hands-on training, such as firearms safety, defensive driving, crash investigation, traffic stops, leadership and citizenship.

“Some of our current troopers participated in the academy as high school students, and they say their Youth Academy experience helped deepen their interest in joining the Highway Patrol,” said Col. Rick Miller, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “This week is a great way for students to learn more about 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.

“This academy is not only about law enforcement, but also developing these young people into leaders,” said Doug Feltman of Chamberlain, the prospective department commander for the South Dakota American Legion. “This is another way that the American Legion can help prepare for the future.”

Others attending the Youth Trooper Academy include: Kasey Broers, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Brady Brown, Rapid City Stevens; Zeke Bryan, Canton; Kelsee Colgrove, Spearfish; Kaeley Dixon, Brookings; Lexy Guardado, Sturgis Brown; Navarre Head, Harding County; Noel Kastner, Redfield; Maya Lee, Dell Rapids; Kimber Natvig, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Paige Pederson, Vermillion; Reese Riemenschneider, Tea Area; Kolby Rosser, Sturgis Brown; Jaydon Schmalz, Deuel; Sydni Snyder, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Hannah Stagman, Harrisburg; Nathan Swets, Spearfish; Radley Wendt, Philip; and Madison Ziebarth, Harrisburg.

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