FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 3, 2022 CONTACT: Stewart Huntington, 605-773-6878
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Mark Vargo today joined the Division of Criminal Investigation and the South Dakota Department of Public Safety’s Division of Highway Patrol in hailing the re-opening of the state’s Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (EVOC) in Pierre, S.D.
Every state certified law enforcement officer must undergo a 40-hour of training in emergency vehicle operation on the course. The EVOC course, which contains approximately 3.2 miles of roadway, was originally built more than 20 years ago and had fallen into disrepair. The Legislature voted in 2020 to support the Attorney General’s Office request for a $2.4 million rehabilitation of the track. The resurfacing project was completed in October by Morris, Inc., of Ft. Pierre, S.D.
“We want to thank the Legislature and the Governor’s Office for agreeing to fund the repair of the EVOC track,” said Attorney General Mark Vargo. “This is an essential element of our training facilities that help prepare the next generation of law enforcement officers for our South Dakota communities. I’d also like to thank the Department of Transportation for design work and consultation of the project.”
As many as 300 law enforcement trainees undergo training at the EVOC track each year. The training centers on driving skills as well as vehicle related police work such as traffic stops, spike strip deployment and pursuits. In addition to new field officer education, the DCI, the Department of Game Fish & Parks and the South Dakota Highway Patrol use the EVOC facility for ongoing officer training. The bulk of the EVOC training is conducted by Highway Patrol Troopers.
“The Emergency Vehicle Operation Course provides a safe training location where law enforcement officers can practice the necessary skills to operate an emergency vehicle,” said Craig Price, Cabinet Secretary for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. “Emergency vehicle operations is one of law enforcement’s primary activities, but officers are killed every year in their patrol cars. The skills these officers learn on the EVOC track are essential in keeping themselves and the public safe. We appreciate all the support to make this upgrade possible.”