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VSP commits to review safety of VSP training in light of trooper death

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Department of Labor investigation into the Vermont State Police physical training procedures for its Tactical Services Unit has been wrapped up after the Vermont Department of Public Safety and the Department of Labor last Thursday came to an agreement.
The investigation was initiated after Vermont State Police Trooper Kyle Young, a 28-year-old Monkton resident who was stationed at the New Haven barracks, died during a try out for the Tactical Services Unit last Sept. 17 in Jericho.
Young was in the midst of a 14-point physical fitness test that candidates needed to complete while wearing a military-style battle dress uniform complete with body armor and boots when he collapsed.
At the time Young began his test, the temperature was 82 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. He stopped moving while in the penultimate phase of the test — a climb up a sand hill. According to the Department of Public Safety, Young was alert and told the officer administering the test that he did not want to quit. He initially said he was fine, then said he was tired and became unresponsive. He received CPR and a 911 call was made.
According to a release by the Vermont State Police, the agreement to wrap up the DoL’s investigation came as the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) acknowledged the Department of Public Safety’s commitment to improving its training and physical testing protocols to better protect its members.
“As part of its commitment to safety, the Department initiated a comprehensive review of its training and physical training protocols for all of its special teams,” Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said in the VSP press release. “The Department is committed to reviewing and improving its testing protocols to protect its members to the greatest extent possible.
As part of its review, the Department of Public Safety consulted with two highly regarded independent experts, Dr. Suzanne Elliott and Denise Alosa, both long-time medical team directors for the Vermont City Marathon. They have written publications related to heat prevention/treatment protocols and have treated multiple Exertional Heat Stroke (EHS) cases. They have trained many emergency medical responders and medical providers on how to recognize and treat EHS.
The Department of Public Safety has been in contact with the Kory Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut for assistance with this review.
Flynn said the department “continues to grieve the loss of State Trooper Kyle Young and hopes that the continued review to improve our protocols will protect our members in the future.”

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