Iroquois student participates in Youth Trooper Academy

PHOTOS COURTESY CHAREMON DUNHAM Samantha Torguson of Iroquois is shown at the South Dakota Youth Trooper Academy held in Pierre. In the second photo, South Dakota American Legion members visiting the South Dakota Youth Trooper Academy on Thursday, July 15, were, back row, from left, Department Commander Gary Wolkow, Bob Thomason, PDC Paul Evenson, John Bachmeier, name unknown, Harry Boner, Perry Schmidt, Travis Flisrand, PDC Larry Price, Leslie Hawkins; and in front, Kevin Hempel, Douglas Feltman, Annette Dunham, PDC Charemon Dunham and Michael Pauling.

PIERRE — The Bensley-Rounds American Legion Post 280 sponsored Samantha Torguson of Iroquois to the South Dakota Highway Patrol Youth Trooper Academy that took place July 12-16.

Torguson was among 23 participants from across the state, including students from Redfield, Clark, Willow Lake, Huron, and Wessington Springs in the Heartland Region. All participants were selected by the Highway Patrol and American Legion Posts throughout the state and are high school juniors or seniors.

The academy activities began on Monday and finished with graduation on Friday.

In between, students participated 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.”

The Youth Trooper Academy is held at the Mickelson Law Enforcement Training Center in Pierre and co-sponsored by the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the South Dakota American Legion.

This is the ninth year of the academy, which was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

“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 De Smet. “This is another way that the American Legion can help prepare for the future.”

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