If you see a lot more State Patrol squad cars along Highway 371 between Fort Ripley and Royalton over the next month, don't be alarmed.
More likely than not, the squads are being filled by the 73 State Patrol trooper candidates training at Camp Ripley who are using the highway to train.
Capt. Mark Jonassen of the Brainerd district of the State Patrol, on Thursday said he's had a few calls and people stopping by the office questioning why so many troopers are patrolling Highway 371.
The candidates are training in the vehicles with equipment they will be issued if they graduate, Jonassen said. The candidates, under the watch of instructors, are using Highway 371 to train with radar, learning to time distances and speed calculation.
Jonassen said the candidates train in the specific area because the State Patrol doesn't have the resources, time or fuel to spread them out on Highway 371 from Royalton to Walker.
Jonassen said motorists can expect to see more State Patrol squads on Highway 371 between now and April 3, the day the candidates graduate.
"From time to time they practice on the highway, so anytime between now and (April 3) you see a bunch of squads on Highway 371, that's probably what it is," Jonassen said.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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