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Peace officer graduates prepare for workforce

By   Andrea Johnson

Published in the Minot Daily News April 26, 2017

Written by Andrea Johnson

Fourteen students will graduate on Thursday from the Lake Region State College Peace Officer Training Program that has been held in Minot since January. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall in Minot State University's Old Main. 

"Three of them actually were hired by the Minot (Police Department) before coming through the academy, so they had jobs already," said John Maritato, director of the program. "The other 11 students are actively seeking employment and have applied with other law enforcement agencies." 

Maritato said there are currently about 20 to 30 law enforcement job openings in North Dakota, so there is a continued demand for police academy graduates. 

Some of the graduates came from other states or territories, including Puerto Rico and Florida. One woman is originally from Oregon. 

During the academy, the students took classes in areas such as defensive tactics and tactical handcuffing, community oriented policing, emergency vehicle operations, firearms and use of force, traffic law, criminal law and dealing with shift work. 

"I tell them this isn't a job or a career," said Maritato. "It's actually a lifestyle." 

Police officers can expect to work shifts at all hours of the day or night, he said, and even when they are off duty they will look at things a little differently. Maritato said they will always be aware of their surroundings. 

Lake Region operates five police academies throughout the state. Police academies will start in Grand Forks and Fargo in May, in Devils Lake at the end of August and in September in Bismarck. Graduates of the program will earn a certificate and will be qualified as peace officers in North Dakota.

Credits taken in the class can also be transferred to continuing education classes. Some may choose to go on to earn an associate in applied science degree in law enforcement through Lake Region or go on for a four year degree at another university. 

More information about the program is available at