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'Willingness to serve:' Trooper, inspector receive Highway Patrol's top honors

The awards were presented Wednesday at a luncheon in Sioux Falls.

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South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Gacke, left, and Motor Carrier Inspector Phil Lentz, right, received the Highway Patrol's top honors at a Wednesday luncheon in Sioux Falls.
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SIOUX FALLS — A South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper and a Motor Carrier Inspector, both praised for their devotion to duty and family, have received the Patrol’s highest honors.

Trooper Jeremy Gacke has been named as the Trooper of the Year, and Motor Carrier Inspector Phil Lentz has been named as the Motor Carrier Inspector of the Year. Both recipients are stationed in Sioux Falls.

“This year’s honorees share the same traits, most notably their willingness to serve others,” said Highway Patrol Maj. Jason Ketterling. “Not only are they devoted to helping the people of South Dakota each day, they are also invested in their families and their communities. They demonstrate a sense of service each day.”

Gacke started with the Highway Patrol in 2004. He is a certified crash reconstructionist and oversees the Highway Patrol’s reconstruction program for the southeast part of the state. He also serves as a drone operator and teaches basic accident investigation and advanced crash reconstruction to the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training students, South Dakota Highway Patrol Recruits and at the Sioux Falls Law Enforcement Academy.

Lentz has been with the Motor Carrier Services since 2005. In 2021, he completed 959 vehicle examination reports. As part of his commercial motor vehicle and driver inspections in 2021, Lentz discovered 1,169 safety violations, 215 which placed the driver or vehicle out of service.

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The awards were presented to Gacke and Lentz on Wednesday during a luncheon in Sioux Falls.

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