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LRSC Peace Officer Training year in review

By   Erin Wood
12/27/2016

North Dakota is gaining new peace officers thanks to another successful year of Lake Region State College’s Peace Officer Training program.

The LRSC Peace Officer Training Program graduated 100 placement ready students in calendar year 2016.  

Lake Region State College held graduation ceremonies for its Peace Officer Training Program Dec. 15. Twenty students graduated from the Devils Lake based fall academy. Another 16 students graduated from the Bismarck peace officer training academy Dec. 1.  The college also offers its peace officer training program in Minot each spring. A summer academy runs in Grand Forks and Fargo. Applications are being accepted for those academies.

The steady enrollment in the peace officer training academy is reflective of the strong need for law enforcement personnel throughout the state, said John Maritato, LRSC Peace Officer Training Director.

“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.

During graduation Dec. 15, John Maritato and Steve Nicola, Peace Officer Training director and instructor on receiving the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award. 

Patriot Awards are awarded to individuals, not to an entire staff or organization as a whole. The first in ESGR’s series of awards, the Patriot Award reflects efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. 

Lake Region State College and its Peace Officer Training Program also were presented with Statements of Support for the Guard and Reserve during the ceremony.

The Statement of Support Program is the cornerstone of ESGR’s effort to gain and maintain employer support for the Guard and Reserve. The intent of the program is to increase employer support by encouraging employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military. Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the Nation’s Guard and Reserve units.

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 1,400 license-eligible graduates that have been hired by more than 100 different North Dakota law enforcement agencies.  Instructors for the program included dozens of law enforcement professionals from various 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.