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Minot Peace Officer Academy Graduation

By   Aimee Larson

A group of newly graduated peace officers will be ready to support law enforcement needs in western North Dakota.

Graduation ceremonies will be held Thursday, April 25th, for the 16 students who make up Class 66 of Devils Lake–based Lake Region State College’s Peace Officer Training Program. The 14-week academy was held in Minot making this the second consecutive spring academy in the city. Graduation ceremonies start at 11:00 am April 25th in the conference center of Minot State University’s Student Union.  

This is the second class that has graduated from Minot, said John Maritato, Director of LRSC’s Peace Officer Training Program.

“We couldn’t have done it without the help of the Ward County Sheriff’s Department, Minot Police Department, and the Minot Rifle and Pistol club for housing the academy,” he said.

The need for Law Enforcement in the western part of the state has grown dramatically. Maritato said the majority of the students in this year’s class are from the western part of the state and have received jobs in this area.

“There are about 12 students that have received conditional offers before the academy is even over,” he said.

Other students are choosing to continue their education or contemplating employment opportunities.

Some of the places where jobs have been offered include Ward County, Minot Police Department, Williston Police Department, Three Affiliated Tribes, and other Police and Sheriff Departments in the state.

“The need for Law Enforcement Officers is greater now than before. Not only has population surged, but a number of officers are going into retirement,” Maritato said.

The LRSC peace officer program in Minot has also collaborated with the Criminal Justice Department at Minot State University so that criminal justice majors at the university could have the opportunity to complete this training as part of their bachelor degree plan.

Lake Region State College is the only college in the state of North Dakota authorized to deliver the North Dakota POST Board approved police academy. Successful completion of the program allows graduates to become licensable as peace officers in ND.

Since 1987 Lake Region State College has graduated more than 1,200 students from the Peace Officer Training program with a 100 percent employment rate for those graduates that actively sought employment as police officers or deputy sheriffs in the State of North Dakota. Graduates have been hired by 116 different law enforcement agencies.

Lake Region State College offers its one-semester peace officer training program in Devils Lake each fall.  The college has conducted a summer academy in Fargo since 2002 with the cooperation of the Fargo Police Department and Cass County Sheriff’s Department.  A similar partnership between LRSC and the Grand Forks Police Department created a summer academy in Grand Forks in 2010.

Instructors for the Peace Officer Training program include more than 40 law enforcement professionals from 16 different law enforcement agencies in ND.