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Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Visits American Heritage Girls Troop

On February 22nd, Trooper Lori Young visit­ed American Heritage Girls Troop MN2931 to speak about her career in law enforcement and share vehicle safety advice. The members of American Heritage Girls were highly interest­ed in the stories and information Trooper Young shared.

Trooper Lori Young lived in Duluth until five years ago, having grown up in Duluth’s West End. After her move to Two Harbors, Young “fell in love with the area.” She has explored multiple career paths and educational expe­riences, including her Masters of Science in Teaching from the College of Saint Scholastica. “For much of my life, I was guided by which career can bring me the most fulfillment and of­fer enough compensation so that I can enjoy my days off as well. I didn’t grow up with money, and often had utilities shut off. Growing up in the West End in the 80’s, you had to learn to stick up for yourself too, it was pure survival as a child.” Young credits her family for her will­ingness to try new things. “My family gave so much love and support that I knew I could do anything.”

At 36 years old, Trooper Young applied to the Minnesota State Patrol through their Law En­forcement Training Opportunities (LETO) pro­gram. She recommends LETO for anyone as a second or third career. LETO allows individu­als with no law enforcement experience and at least a two-year Associate’s Degree to apply to be a State Trooper. “I found myself advancing through the process and arduous training that the state offers until I was finally sworn in in 2019 at 37 years old. The MN State Patrol of­fers such incredible training and mentorship throughout the beginning of your career that not only was I a better version of myself on my first solo day, but I had a better understanding of who I was and how I related to the world.”

For nearly 15 years before entering the State Patrol, Trooper Young worked in Duluth-area nonprofits. Her work was in direct service ad­vocacy at PAVSA, DAIP, First Witness Child Advocacy Center, and a short time at Women’s Community Development. “I worked with some of the most atrocious crimes through my career and learned about the investigative side of law enforcement and the justice system during my tenure. I worked with some of the most dedicat­ed and hard-working people through these years that I saw what it meant to never stop fighting for justice. More importantly, I saw firsthand the resiliency of victims, families, and community when the unimaginable happens.” Young de­scribes herself as always having been “an em­pathetic person”, but working in that field taught her “the importance of healthy personal and professional boundaries in order to achieve ef­fective outcomes.” Much of what Young learned in those fifteen years has been translated to her current career in the State Patrol.

As a recruiter for the Minnesota State Patrol, Trooper Young has spoken at many groups and schools. “I’m always looking for old, new, fun, and interesting opportunities and collaboration. I invite people to reach out.” Young can adapt a presentation, seminar, or workshop to suit the needs of the particular group. “Traffic safety is important as it affects us all. Countless people, including myself, have endured the pain and suf­fering of worst case scenarios on our roads from traffic crashes. It’s my hope that we can work together to make traveling, whether our daily commutes, for commerce, work or road trips, safer and more efficient. We are truly all in this together.”

Trooper Young shared some vehicle safety tips for children. “I want kids to understand the ne­cessity of keeping a seatbelt properly adjusted when they are riding in the vehicle. Parents are focused on operating and navigating a vehicle and cannot monitor what their children are doing for an extended road trip. I see countless chil­dren moving shoulder straps behind their backs or under their arms. I have also seen the conse­quences of anguish in parents after a crash when what should have been a basic crash, turns into devastating injuries.” Young encourages chil­dren to remind other passengers in their vehicle of proper seatbelt use in the instance that they see it being used incorrectly. She also urges chil­dren to not distract the driver. “Fighting, throw­ing, kicking in a vehicle can be very dangerous. If you are a parent in the passenger seat and need to manage the chaos in the back seat, please do not remove your seatbelt and turn around to do so. Pull over and manage the back seat chaos, reminding your children that driving is serious and requires more attention than you can give them right now.” Young adds, “I know. Easier said than done, but prioritizing safety becomes easy when it’s made a priority.”

Trooper Young also has safety tips for teens learning to drive. “One of the biggest tips I can give to newer drivers is get a junk car, albeit a safe junk car, get something that doesn’t have a lot of features that cause distraction and doesn’t ride so smooth it’s easy to speed.” She also cov­ers the instances when there are teens driving with each other in multiple vehicles. “For ex­ample, six friends in two vehicles going to Du­luth down 61, if the other vehicle starts speed­ing or tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic, you don’t have to follow them. Back off and let them go ahead without you, or maybe they will realize they are being obnoxious and back off as well. Peer pressure works both ways.” Young adds that someone will report you to 911, and “we will have a talk with both you and your par­ent/guardian.” Another thing to be aware of is seasonal changes. “Summer/Fall = tourism and people not familiar with the area. We live in a unique area where you must navigate a massive traffic change every year. Give yourself extra time during these busy months, and don’t let oth­er people make you angry. Then we have spring and winter. If you go off the road, stay in your vehicle. You cannot outrun a sliding vehicle at 60 mph on ice if you are standing outside your vehicle on the shoulder or roadway. Remember, you just slid there for a reason.” She encourages teens to practice driving in slick conditions with a parent or guardian in safe places with no other traffic.

Trooper Lori Young believes that proactive and preventative traffic enforcement helps keep the roads safer. “If COVID taught us anything, it is that the less proactive enforcement on the roads, the higher likelihood for serious crashes. In many ways, the better proactive enforcement, the less reactive enforcement a Trooper will have. For a Trooper, reactive enforcement is primarily being called to crashes. Many people will admit that the only reason they wear a seat belt or don’t speed, drive intoxicated, or use a cellular device is because they don’t want a fine. Fines are hefty, with the lowest being around $120 after fees.” She acknowledges that many people do follow traffic laws because they them­selves believe it to be a safer way to live. “Ei­ther way, the rules are established for a reason. I empathize with the busy and demanding lives of people because I, too, live the hustle and bustle. I know that a citation sometimes means people will have to sacrifice another cost demand in their household. At the end of the day, we all know the basic rules and consequences. I don’t speak for every Trooper, but I’m positive we all like to feel we did our part at the end of each shift keeping the roads safe. It’s not just us out there doing so either. It’s everyone that takes the roads.”

Young concludes with one more reminder. “If you are a safe driver, take pride in your disci­pline and encourage others to do the same. Last­ly, don’t feel shy to call 911 and report danger­ous drivers.” She would also encourage anyone interested in a career with the MN State Patrol to reach out to her for details.

Thank you, Trooper Lori Young, and all the State Patrol Troopers who keep our highways safe for being an inspiration to the American Heritage Girls Troop and an encouragement to us all.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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