Lake Region State College will offer a Peace Training Academy in Minot for the 2013 spring term, beginning Jan. 14.
The college offered the first one-semester police academy in Minot last spring for the first time. Eighteen people graduated from the academy last spring. About half of those graduates are employed in the greater Minot area and the rest found jobs elsewhere in North Dakota, according to program director John Maritato.
At last spring's graduation ceremony, held on the campus at Minot State University, law enforcement officers said there is a great need for more officers in this region due to the ongoing oil boom. Law enforcement agencies have had difficulty recruiting people because of a housing shortage and high rents, so they are seeking to train people who already live in this part of the state.
Future law enforcement officers learn how to make an arrest during the peace officer training academy held last spring in Minot.
Lake Region announced that the Minot session of the program will now take the place of the Lake Region State College spring campus-based training program. It is being offered as part of a partnership between Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, the Ward County Sheriff's Office, Minot Police Department and Minot State University.
Maritato, who recently took over as director of the program, has a law enforcement background in Devils Lake. He said he hopes to see 20 students graduate this spring from the academy. Ten have already been approved to enter the academy in January and applications are still being accepted.
Lake Region describes the police academy as a rigorous one-semester course that is designed for people who want to pursue a career in law enforcement. It includes hands-on training of proper weapons handling, crime scene investigation, and emergency vehicle operations to fundamentals of criminal law, traffic law and report writing. The program is made up of more than 700 performance objectives.
Students who enroll in the peace officer training academy will also be able to apply their credits towards an associate in applied science degree in law enforcement offered through Lake Region State College or to continue their studies for a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Minot State.
Lake Region offers the courses online and over the interactive video network.
Maritato said the cost is about $4,150 for the program, including the different applications, psychological exam, a background check, a physical exam, fingerprinting, and the coursework. Students are also required to fund their own room and board and live within commuting distance of the training location. Housing options may be available through Minot State University. Students can inquire about financial aid through Lake Region.
Maritato said in a press release that the eight major law enforcement agencies in North Dakota all require 60 semester hours along with academy completion of their employees, a factor for prospective students to consider if they want to work in a larger town. Smaller law enforcement agencies may not require the additional credit hours. Maritato said every graduate of the program who has actively looked for work has found a job somewhere. Others are finishing up two or four year degree programs.
Maritato said he's noticed that some people with a military background have been applying to the police academy. Other training locations also have had several women complete the program.
The police academy is offered at Devils Lake in the fall, at Grand Forks and Fargo in the summer and now at Minot in the spring.
"Since (Lake Region State College) is the only college in the state of North Dakota authorized to deliver the ND POST Board approved police academy, the Minot academy location gives us the opportunity to provide a needed educational service for western North Dakota in a flexible and accessible manner," said Maritato.
Those interested in attending the Minot academy should contact LRSC's Peace Officer Training program at (800) 443-1313 ext. 1526 or by email to Johnathan.Maritato@lrsc.edu
All completed forms should be addressed Attention: Jennifer Jenssen and mailed to Lake Region State College, 1801 College Drive North, Devils Lake, ND 58301.