Vermillion officers will aid security at Olympics

Vermillion officers will aid security at Olympics Two South Dakota lawmen will represent the state at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. But they won't be taking part in any sporting events.

Sgt. Greg Logan from The University of South Dakota and Sgt. Dave Thiesse of the Vermillion Police Department were selected by the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command. They will join officers from across the country to provide security at the games, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The officers are volunteering their time. They must take leave from their agencies and pay their own travel costs.

In return, the Olympic committee provides room and board, and issues them a winter uniform and an Olympic police badge.

"It's a collector's item," Logan said. "It's something to keep hold of."

There were thousands of applicants for the 600-officer force and competition was tough.

Each officer had to demonstrate a high level of training, significant experience and pass a rigid background investigation before being appointed.

"I think it speaks highly of these two officers to have been chosen," said Dan Burke, USD public safety director.

Because of terrorism concerns, 100 additional law enforcement volunteers were added to the force.

"It's there in the back of my mind," Thiesse said. "Since September 11th, terrorism has been on everyone's mind."

Once Thiesse learned about the Olympic force, he began the application process. That was two years ago.

"I'm really excited about getting accepted,"he said. "We, the volunteers, have our own Web site, and we're all talking amongst each other. Some of the others have worked previous Olympics, and they're giving us pointers."

Logan and Thiesse don't know which event or venue they'll be assigned.

They'll be staying downtown, close to several ice arenas.

"I hope it's hockey," Thiesse said.

"Everyone wants to cover hockey. I just don't want to be stuck on top of a mountain."

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