Sixteen graduates of Lake Region State College's Peace Officer Training Program will help meet the need for law enforcement in the western part of the state, according to director John Maritato.
Graduation ceremonies were held Thursday at Minot State University for graduates of the 14-week police academy that was held in Minot this spring. It is the second class to graduate in Minot. Maritato said in a press release that most of the graduates are from the western part of the state and have found jobs in the area.
"There are about 12 students that have received conditional offers before the academy is even over," he said.
Graduates of the Lake Region State College’s Peace Officer Training Program accept certificates during the graduation ceremony on Thursday.
Offers have come from Ward County Sheriff's Office, Minot Police Department, Williston Police Department. Three Affiliated Tribes and other law enforcement agencies in the state.
"The need for law enforcement officers is greater now than before," said Maritato. "Not only has population surged, but a number of officers are going into retirement."
Lake Region's peace officer program collaborated with the criminal justice department at Minot State University so that criminal justice majors who chose to do could complete the peace officer training while working toward their bachelor's degrees.
More than 1,200 students have graduated from the peace officer training program offered by Lake Region since 1987. Lake Region also offers its one semester peace officer training program in Devils Lake each fall and offers summer academies in Fargo and Grand Forks. Instructors are law enforcement officers from different agencies in North Dakota. In Minot, the academy received assistance from the Ward County Sheriff's Office and the Minot Police Department. It was housed at the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club.
Graduates of the academy include Taylor Barnett, Aleacia Braaten, Nadine Campbell, Brandon Domonoske, William Elmore, Micheal Farrell Ough, Jordan Kluck, Ross Lakoduk, Jason Lux, Jon-Paul McClellan, Nathaniel Miller, Benjamin Newman, Christopher Roach, Joshua Scherr, Joshua Scoggins and Justin Welsh.
During the graduation ceremony, Minot Police Chief Jason Olson warned the new officers of some of the challenges that lie ahead. He said they will be called upon to sacrifice time with family and work nights and holidays for a modest salary and give up some of their safety for the safety of others. Although it's rare for an officer to be killed in the line of duty, Olson said it happened twice to officers in North Dakota in 2011. Olson said officers sometimes need to turn off their emotions when confronted with tragedies, but warned them not to isolate themselves from their friends and family. Instead, they should remember to turn their emotions back on when they go home.
Olson said despite those difficulties, the new law enforcement officers-to-be have made the right decision to enter a career path he describes as more of a calling than a job.