PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Sixteen South Dakota teens are attending a Youth Trooper Academy this week put on by the Highway Patrol and American Legion of South Dakota.
The one-week academy geared to kids aged 16 and 17 runs through Friday afternoon at the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pierre.
Maj. Dana Svendsen says the goal is to give kids a look at the demands and rewards of Highway Patrol recruit training and to build better relationships between youth and the patrol.
Veteran 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 and criminal law.
Svendsen says it's a physically and mentally demanding week.