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For Lake Region's officer training program, a record-setting graduation

The number of graduates at Lake Region State College's Peace Officer Training Program will reach a record 83 this year, after 17 students receive their certificates Thursday.

The number of graduates at Lake Region State College's Peace Officer Training Program will reach a record 83 this year, after 17 students receive their certificates Thursday.

The college operates a spring and fall academy in Devils Lake, where its campus is, and summer academies in Grand Forks and Fargo.

Healthy enrollments in all four academies this year helped Lake Region reach the record, according to Lloyd Halvorson, program director. He's hoping this may be the first of more record years.

"Many law enforcement career opportunities currently are available in North Dakota," he said. "With residential academies each fall and spring in Devils Lake and summer commuter academies in Fargo and Grand Forks, we're poised to help fill employer need in the state."

Since 1987, Lake Region has graduated more than 1,000 students from the Peace Officer Training program, with a 100 percent employment rate for those graduates that actively sought employment as police officers or deputy sheriffs in North Dakota. Graduates have been hired by 116 different law enforcement agencies.


Instructors for the program include more than 40 law enforcement professionals from 16 different agencies statewide.

Graduation ceremonies start at 1 p.m. Thursday in Robert Fawcett Auditorium. The next academy session will begin in January.


Lake Region offers its one-semester peace officer training program in Devils Lake each fall and spring.

The college has conducted a summer academy in Fargo since 2002 with the cooperation of the Fargo Police Department and Cass County Sheriff's Department. A similar partnership between Lake Region and the Grand Forks Police Department created an academy in Grand Forks, which operated its first academy session this past summer.

"When we expanded into Fargo back in 2002, we never knew how successful it would be," Halvorson said. "That added 25 students to our normal yearly training."

He said the growth has been based on employer demand, as police and sheriff's departments throughout the state look to fill openings spurred by departmental growth and retirements.

Lake Region is the only college in the state with a North Dakota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board approved police academy. Successful completion of the program allows graduates to become licensed as peace officers in North Dakota.


The Highway Patrol operates a Law Enforcement Training Academy in Bismarck. However, that program is limited to police officers who already are on the job. The fees are paid by the department that sends the officer to the school.

The Lake Region program is designed for people who are interested in the criminal justice field, but do not have law enforcement jobs. Criminal justice education programs at UND, Northland Community and Technical College provide a steady stream of students to the Lake Region program, Halvorson said.

The summer academies in Grand Forks and Fargo typically are at capacity of 26 students. Enrollment in Devils Lake has been in the teens in recent years, but could grow to a maximum of 26, he said.

"I think before we expand into another market, we would maximize our enrollment here," Halvorson said of the Devils Lake campus.

He compared the one-semester course with nurse training in that students pay their own tuition for the training and then pass the required licensing exams before entering the job market.

The basic tuition is $3,000. Room and board at Lake Region adds about another $2,000 per semester.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com .

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