- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Nineteen South Dakota teens are training this week with the Highway Patrol during the annual Youth Trooper Academy.

The one-week academy is geared toward adolescents aged 16 and 17 and will run through Friday afternoon at the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pierre. The event is put on by the Highway Patrol and American Legion of South Dakota.

The 19 participants are undergoing classroom and hands-on training in areas such as firearms safety, defensive driving, crash investigation, traffic stops and police service dog handling.

Maj. Rick Miller is assistant superintendent of the Highway Patrol. He says the participants are experiencing the high standards set for Highway Patrol recruits.

Veteran troopers are mentoring the adolescents.

All participants will start their senior year in high school this fall.

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