- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Lake Region State College in Devils Lake is expanding its police officer training program to Bismarck to help address a growing need for law officers in western North Dakota, home to the booming oil patch.

The college is partnering with the police departments in Bismarck and Mandan and the sheriff’s offices in Burleigh and Morton counties. Classes start in late August and run through November.

Lake Region State has been training police officers in Devils Lake since 1987. It created a Fargo training academy in 2002, a Grand Forks academy in 2010 and a Minot academy in 2012.

“It’s important to offer an academy in Bismarck due to the growing number of job openings in that part of the state and to provide the opportunity for people from that part of the state to attend the academy,” program Director John Maritato said.

Students who finish the Peace Officer Training Program have completed all of the training necessary to obtain a peace officer license in North Dakota and can be hired immediately by law enforcement agencies. Lake Region State in the last 27 years has trained more than 1,400 people who have been hired by more than 100 agencies across the state.

“The program has an almost 100 percent employment rate for graduates who actively pursue positions as full-time police officers or deputy sheriffs in North Dakota,” said Lloyd Halvorson, Lake Region’s vice president for academic affairs.

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