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LRSC launches Bismarck police academy

By   Erin Wood

Bismarck-area law enforcement agencies and Devils Lake, ND – based Lake Region State College have partnered to bring the LRSC Peace Officer Training program to Bismarck, fall 2014.

The partnership was announced Thursday, June 26th at a news conference at the Bismarck Police Department. Representatives from Bismarck and Mandan Police Departments, Burleigh and Morton County Sheriffs’ Departments, and Lake Region State College were on hand to discuss the program and partnership.

“We hope having the academy in Bismarck will help us recruit people who live in the area, want to be in law enforcement and want to stay in the area,” said Bismarck Deputy Police Chief Dave Draovitch.  

Applications currently are being accepted for the Lake Region State College Peace Officer Training Academy in Bismarck with classes starting August 27 and running through November 26.

“It’s important to offer an academy in Bismarck due to the growing number of job openings in that part of the state and to provide the opportunity for people from that part of the state to attend the academy,” said John Maritato, director of the LRSC Peace Officer Training program.

The Peace Officer Training Program is a one-semester basic police academy that results in license eligibility for program graduates.  Unlike traditional college criminal justice programs, graduates of the Peace Officer Training Program are immediately hirable by law enforcement agencies because the students have completed all necessary training to obtain a peace officer license in North Dakota.   

LRSC began training police officers in 1987.  Since that time, the college has produced more than 1,400 license-eligible graduates who have been hired by 116 different North Dakota law enforcement agencies.  

A partnership similar to this one was forged with Fargo area law enforcement agencies in 2002, Grand Forks area law enforcement agencies in 2010, and Minot area law enforcement agencies in 2012.  Academies run in Fargo and Grand Forks each summer and in Minot each spring. These consecutive academies have helped fill the need for additional peace officers in North Dakota, said Lloyd Halvorson, Vice President for Academic Affairs at LRSC.

“This partnership with LRSC gives us the opportunity help meet the demand for additional officers in Bismarck, Mandan, local counties and cities, and essentially statewide,” Halvorson said.

Lake Region State College will continue offering summer academies in Fargo and Grand Forks, fall academy in Devils Lake, and spring academy in Minot.

“The program has an almost 100 percent employment rate for graduates who actively pursue positions as full-time police officers or deputy sheriffs in North Dakota,” Halvorson said.

Instructors for the program will include more than 40 law enforcement professionals from 16 law enforcement agencies, including members of police departments, sheriffs’ departments, the N.D. Highway Patrol, the N.D. Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the college’s faculty members.

Those interested in attending the academy this fall should contact LRSC’s Peace Officer Training Program at (701) 662-1683 or 1-800-443-1313.