Highway Patrol graduation set for Friday

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – The first nine recruits of the South Dakota Highway Patrol’s new Fast Track Academy graduate Friday, Oct. 23 at the state Capitol in Pierre.

The academy, held for the first time this year, is for those recruits who are already certified law enforcement officers. Because the fast track academy students already have the basic law enforcement training, their training period is several weeks shorter than the standard Highway Patrol academy.

“We are pleased with how the fast track academy worked and the quality of individuals that are joining the Highway Patrol,” said Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller. “Along with our traditional training academy, we now have two ways to recruit the best possible candidates to the Highway Patrol. “

Friday’s event starts at 1 p.m. inside the Capitol Rotunda. South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson is the keynote speaker. Friday’s ceremony is limited to immediate family only. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the Highway Patrol’s Facebook page.

The recruits who make up Class 63 and their duty stations are: Bryce Finnegan, Vermillion; Chad Gamber, Watertown; Lauren Jones, Webster; Jeff Kretlow, Rapid City; Karlea Larson, Selby;  Jacob Raap, Spearfish; Evan Schoenefeld, Watertown; Derek Uebel, Sturgis; and Paige Zempel, Milbank.

The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.