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Insight from WFPD: Police officers receive continued training

The North Dakota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board is responsible for the annual licensure of law enforcement officers in North Dakota. To be eligible to be licensed, the candidate must have completed the eleven week Law Enforcement Basic Training Program or an equivalent program in another state. To remain licensed, an officer must pass a POST approved firearms training course on an annual basis. The board also requires an officer receive a minimum of sixty hours of continued education during a three year period.

When an officer is hired by the West Fargo Police Department, the candidate must have already completed at least two years of college course work. Additionally, the candidate must be deemed eligible for licensing based on the POST requirements.

Once hired, the officer will undergo supervised training as part of the twelve week Field Training Program, focusing on subjects specific to the West Fargo Police Department and the West Fargo community. During the field training period the officer will receive an additional forty hours of training to become a medical first responder. Another twenty-four hours is spent by the officer to become CPR and AED certified.

After successfully completing the Field Training Program, the officer is allowed to patrol the community on their own. One of their responsibilities is to remain current on changes to department policy and practice; changes to the City of West Fargo Ordinances; changes to the North Dakota Century Code; recent rulings from the courts which affect the duties of law enforcement; and on new technologies and equipment. Little in law enforcement is static or without change.

Other topics an officer may receive training on are: RADAR; Intoxilyzer alcohol testing equipment; investigations; evidence processing; interviewing; drug detection; crime prevention; and media relations.

An officer may also choose to undergo training specific to a certain law enforcement practice or to become part of a specialized team. To become a bomb technician an officer must attend six weeks of initial training plus one week of training ever three years at the federal training facility in Anniston, Ala. The officer completes sixteen hours of training each month locally.

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers receive a one week initial basics school and one week of field training on an annual basis. The officers also receive four hours of training per month. Certain members are selected to receive additional training as negotiators, snipers, or special weapons operators.

Through the training program, the intent is to provide the West Fargo community with the best quality of law enforcement practices possible.