Two Spearfish officers graduate from basic training

Spearfish Police Officers Austin Drapeaux, left, and Chris Woods graduated from the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training and Standards Commission 170th Basic Certification Class June 7. Courtesy photo

SPEARFISH — Two new police officers are ready to begin their field training in Spearfish: Austin Drapeaux and Chris Woods were among 43 officers who graduated from the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training and Standards Commission 170th Basic Certification Class June 7.

“We are very proud of both Officer Drapeaux and Woods for successfully completing basic certification requirements,” Police Chief Pat Rotert said.

The officers, hired Feb. 19 by the city council at a grade 18, step 1, $22.07 per hour wage, effective Feb. 25, were at the academy in Pierre during the March 11 through June 7 session. 

The state’s basic training academy, the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center, is located in Pierre, and the basic training for most officers is a 13-week, 52-hour course. The training teaches recruits police practices and procedure, human behavior, firearms proficiency, emergency vehicle operations, use of force, and defensive tactics.

“On behalf of the law enforcement community and the people of the state of South Dakota, congratulations and job well done to the graduates …” said Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. “Thank you to each and every one of you for your dedication to public service, and I wish all of you the best of luck as you work to keep South Dakota safe.”

During his time at the academy, Woods earned the prestigious Coler-Williams Award, presented by the South Dakota Peace Officer’s Association and given to the student displaying the most outstanding academic and leadership skills during the session.

“The recognition of Officer Woods efforts and overall excellence in the basic class not a small feat,” Rotert said. “The Coler-Williams award is held in very high esteem by South Dakota law enforcement agencies.”

Rotert explained that both officers will now receive an additional 18 weeks of field training at the department level, as they learn how to apply what they have learned at basic training at the local level, before they begin working on their own.

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