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LRSC Bismarck Peace Officer Academy graduation

By   Erin Wood

The first class of Lake Region State College’s Bismarck peace officer training academy will graduate November 26th. 

Lake Region State College, in cooperation with Bismarck/Mandan area law enforcement agencies, started a 14-week fall peace officer training academy this August in Bismarck. 

Thirteen students will go through graduation from its police academy at 11:00 am Wednesday at Bismarck State College’s National Energy Center of Excellence, 1500 Edwards Ave. 

Another 24 students will graduate from the Devils Lake-based academy Dec. 18 at LRSC’s Robert Fawcett Auditorium. Overall, Lake Region State College will have trained 98 peace officer students in calendar year 2014, said program director John Maritato. The college also offers its peace officer training program in Devils Lake each fall. A summer academy runs in Grand Forks and Fargo and a spring academy in Minot. 

The increase in students attending the peace officer training academy is reflective of the strong need for law enforcement personnel throughout the state.  

“Many law enforcement career opportunities currently are available in North Dakota as areas of the state grow in population and long-time personnel near retirement,” Maritato said.

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 are immediately hirable by law enforcement agencies as the students have completed all necessary training to obtain a peace officer license in North Dakota. 

Lake Region State College began training police officers in 1987. Since that time, the college has produced more than 1,300 license-eligible graduates that have been hired by 116 different North Dakota law enforcement agencies.  Instructors for the program included more than 40 law enforcement professionals from 16 law enforcement agencies, including members of police departments, sheriff’s departments, the N.D. Highway Patrol, the N.D. Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the college’s faculty.

“The program has an almost 100 percent employment rate for graduates that actively pursue a position as a full-time police officer or deputy sheriff in North Dakota,” Maritato said.