Elite opportunity for OHS senior


OHS senior RJ Kniefel

Cam Trout, Writer

Meet RJ Kniefel, one of 30 students in the United of States who will be training with the DEA this upcoming summer. Kniefel is a senior at OHS who has recently been accepted into the DEA leadership academy sponsored by learning for life. This program is a prestigious honor and has an extremely low acceptance rate. Kniefel’s application included a two page paper, three letters of recommendations from law enforcement officials and a teacher and an updated list of leadership activities. Kniefel has always been interested in law enforcement and has had a lot of experience in the field. Scheduling around lifting, football, Big Brothers- Big Sisters, Jiu Jitsu and other outdoor activities, Kniefel has been a special deputy to the Sheriff’s office and a law enforcement explorer. By working alongside the Owatonna Police Department, RJ already has a leg up on his competitors.

From June 25 to July 1, Kneifel will undergo extensive training at the FBI headquarters in Virginia under the advisement of DEA agents and officials. Each morning the academy starts with physical training. The rigorous workouts are similar to what current agents endure in basic training. Following physical training is the academic session. Each student will be briefed on the DEA and their operations during classroom periods. Students finish the day with practical hands on training tests. Here students can experience real life simulations of DEA field agents. This can include meth lab raids or other situations where the DEA may need to get involved.

After Kniefel’s packed summer he will be attending Mankato State University to major in law enforcement and minor in global terrorism. With his previous training and new encounters this summer, Kniefel will have a head start over students across the country. After college Kniefel could potentially work for the FBI, DEA, ATF or the U.S. Marshals. He is an incredible example of making dreams a reality, even at a young age.