Buns new Wall-based trooper
Wed, 09/13/2017 - 10:25am admin
Del Bartels/Pioneer Review
I felt I received excellent training in both the basic and recruit academies."
Andrew Buns is the newest South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper to be based out of Wall.
Of the squads within District Three, which is overseen from Rapid City, Buns is in the Badlands Squad led by Sergeant Slade Ross, Philip.
“What attracted me to law enforcement is the fact that every day is different. There is no routine in this job and you have a lot of freedom in the way you work,” said Buns.
Though born in Kansas, Buns spent his youth in Huron. His family then moved to Stewartville, Minn., and, in 2008, he graduated from Stewartville High School. Buns then attended Rochester Community and Technical College. He transferred to Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and a minor in corrections.
“I worked as a campus security officer at MSU from 2013 until the fall of 2016,” said Buns. “I applied to the South Dakota Highway Patrol in July 2016. In October 2016, I received a call from Superintendent Colonel Craig Price and was offered a job with the South Dakota Highway Patrol, with Wall as my duty station.
“I arrived in Pierre for the start of the South Dakota Basic Law Enforcement Academy in November 2016. In February, I finished that academy and started the South Dakota Highway Patrol Recruit Academy, which I finished in early May. I then started field training, where I worked in Watertown, where my primary field training officer is stationed. I also worked in Spearfish and Sioux Falls. The South Dakota Highway Patrol does this so that you can learn how different troopers work and try to pick up different techniques and use those techniques for your own program. I finished field training in August and started working on my own in the middle of the Sturgis rally,” he said.
“I felt I received excellent training in both the basic and recruit academies. The basic academy helped me build relationships with officers from city, county and tribal agencies. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from the instructors at the basic academy.
Buns said that the Highway Patrol Recruit Academy focuses on job specific duties of the highway patrol. The recruit academy goes indepth in areas such as traffic enforcement, crash investigation, DUI (driving under the influence) investigation and motor carrier enforcement. These areas are the bread and butter of the highway patrol. They also receive extra training in firearms and emergency vehicle operations, so that they can polish up these skills.
“The real learning takes place during field training when you start to put everything you learned together and develop your own program,” said Buns. “When you include the application, interview process, background investigation, polygraph, job offer, basic academy, recruit academy, and field training, the entire process takes about a year.”
Buns said that it is a grueling process, but it is well worth it. His favorite part of the academy was the comraderie. He developed some close friendships with his fellow troopers during the academy.
“So far I am enjoying living and working in the area.... I have a lot of ground to cover in the Badlands Squad. It covers nine counties, which makes it one of the largest squad areas in the state.
“I am slowly getting to know some of the deputies, city officers, and community members in my area. I am lucky to be stationed in Wall, because the Pennington County deputies stationed in Wall are a tight-knit group. They have all been very helpful since I have been out here,” said Buns.
According to the South Dakota Highway Patrol website, new troopers must undergo approximately 24 weeks of rigorous academy training before being assigned to a duty station. The curriculum includes patrol procedure, accident investigations, highway safety, motor vehicles code, DUI enforcement, firearms training, emergency vehicle operations, motor carrier enforcement, criminal procedures, criminal investigations, drug interdiction, physical fitness, public relations/speaking, officer safety, self defense tactics.
Upon completion of the academic training, recruits are assigned to approximately 10 weeks of field training with a veteran trooper. Some of the duties not mentioned above include rendering medical aid to sick and injured, court room testimony, protection of dignitaries, restoring order during public disturbance, helping the motoring public, and assisting other law enforcement agencies.