Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Old airport becomes training ground


Cindy Glasson

Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers from District 5 gathered in Thermopolis last week for advanced training at the old Hot Springs County Airport.

It looked a little like something out of the "Fast and Furious" franchise on Wednesday and Thursday last week as members of the Wyoming Highway Patrol used the former Hot Springs County Airport as a training ground.

Troopers from District 5, which includes Thermopolis, Basin, Cody, Dubois, Lander, Riverton, Meeteetse, Shoshoni, Ten Sleep and Worland, converged on the area to do some advanced training.

Lieutenant Lee Pence, supervisor for Division I of the Highway Patrol out of Lander, organized the training that included the use of practice stop sticks and various driving techniques.

There are few places in the state where troopers can do this type of training, so the airport's runway provides an excellent venue. Pence said the department sends out a big thank you to Hot Springs County for allowing them to use the property.

Without revealing any "secrets", the troopers set up orange cones to create a bridge deck then took turns using the stop sticks on their fellow officers' vehicles to become more comfortable with the use of the device, their throwing technique and the prime moment to pull it across the lane for maximum effect.

Troopers' lives are pretty much spent in their vehicles, so its only natural they need to know what their cars are capable of.

Cindy Glasson

Lieutenant Lee Pence practices with fake stop sticks.

Wednesday's training was fairly straightforward, with a dry road surface and mostly sunny skies, so the troopers, after some training on listening to their tires (squealing is OK, chattering tires are not) and the best way to enter or exit a curve, worked their way through a series of driving maneuvers like swerving, figure eights, high speed slalom and evasive maneuvers before flying down the runway at top speed.

They then moved off the tarmac onto the runway's apron for close quarter maneuvers through cones that required some backing up without knocking down cones to get through.

Thursday's classes went through the same training, but had the extra element of rain and wet roads as the clouds rolled in that morning and stayed the remainder of the day.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol primarily uses Dodge Chargers as patrol vehicles.


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