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LRSC Peace Officer Program celebrates 30 years

By   Erin Wood

Lake Region State College is proud to have produced peace officers for North Dakota the last 30 years.

Police officers spend their days protecting and serving their local community. It is a rewarding career, but not an easy one.

“The profession and public have high expectations and it is our job to prepare those candidates to enter that workforce,” said Lt. John Maritato, Director of Peace Officer Training.

This semester’s class of 24 will participate in graduation ceremonies Thursday, December 14th at 1:00 pm in Robert Fawcett Auditorium.

Lake Region State College began training peace officers in 1987. Since that time, the college has produced approximately 1,800 eligible graduates that have been hired by North Dakota law enforcement agencies. Instructors for the program include officers from the Lake Region State College Police Department and more than 40 law enforcement professionals from 16 other law enforcement agencies.

These future peace officers undergo training in criminal and traffic law, defensive tactics, intermediate weapons, emergency vehicle operations, tactical room clearing, firearms, and a host of other law and practical based training.

North Dakota has experienced a high demand for peace officers as population increases and current police officers retire.
Since the demand has been felt statewide, Lake Region State College has teamed up with law enforcement agencies to run regional academies throughout the state, instead of only on the Devils Lake campus.

In 2002, LRSC added a summer academy in Fargo. Another summer academy was added in Grand Forks in 2010. A spring Minot academy started in 2012, and an academy in Bismarck was started in 2014.
“Each year, an increasing number of officers complete their law enforcement careers. Our academy helps produces the labor pool necessary to fill those vacancies,” said Lt. Maritato.
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.
The increase in students attending the peace officer training academy is reflective of the strong need for law enforcement personnel throughout the state.
“Lake Region State College wants to help create a workforce of qualified peace officers. Individuals willing to be part of a team, handle the job pressures, help others, and make a difference,” Lt. Maritato said.
A police officer position provides good salary, leave, benefits, and promotional opportunities.
“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,” he continued.
Applications are currently being accepted for the Minot academy, which starts January 16th. For more information contact Jennifer at (701) 662-1683.