Lake Region college plans officer academy in GF
Lake Region State College will kick off a police officer academy this summer at the Grand Forks Public Safety Center, officials announced Wednesday. Grand Forks Police Chief John Packett hopes the academy -- a satellite of Lake Region's officer-c...
Lake Region State College will kick off a police officer academy this summer at the Grand Forks Public Safety Center, officials announced Wednesday.
Grand Forks Police Chief John Packett hopes the academy -- a satellite of Lake Region's officer-certification program in Devils Lake -- will improve the quality of local law enforcement.
"We are going to stock the pool," Packett said. "This will allow us ... administrators to go fishing and get a quality catch."
In exchange for using the $5.7 million center, the college will pay the city $18,000 a year and the Grand Forks Police Department will be able to fill three spots in the academy each summer, Packett said.
Lake Region, which holds spring and fall academies in Devils Lake, established a summer academy in Fargo in 2002 based on a similar partnership with local agencies. By hiring graduates of Lake Region's academies, college officials said, agencies avoid the costs of paying untrained hires their salaries and benefits for three months while they attend the state's officer academy in Bismarck.
"If you hire people that have already provided for their own training by attending this program, the program in Fargo or the one in Devils Lake, there's a huge cost savings for every agency and the taxpayer," said Lloyd Halvorson, Lake Region's director of peace officer training.
Halvorson estimated it costs an agency between $10,000 and $12,000 to send an officer to the state's academy. Lake Region is the only college in the state that certifies officers, he said.
The Grand Forks academy will be a 14-week accelerated program that covers emergency vehicle operation, traffic and criminal law, firearm use and other required skills. Each weekday, students will workout for an hour starting at 6:30 a.m., take a break and then attend class for seven hours.
Halvorson will teach at the academy along with another full-time instructor and officers from around the state. Lake Region hopes to graduate 26 officers this summer from the Grand Forks academy.
The Public Safety Center, located in the city's industrial park, was completed in 2008. It houses the city's mosquito control unit and a fire station and serves as a training facility for the police and fire departments.