Correctional Officer Training Academy a First for North Dakota, Rasmussen College

fargo_corrections_academy_graduateThe state of North Dakota has entered into a new partnership with Rasmussen College to keep up with the growing demand for trained corrections officers.

The partnership allows for Rasmussen College to provide a 12-week correctional officer training academy in conjuncture with the Cass County Sheriff’s office. This public-private-partnership (PPP) is the first of its kind for the state, with classes being taught at Rasmussen College’s Fargo campus by both Rasmussen College instructors and officials from the sheriff’s department.

The training curriculum was designed to provide a solid mix of academic coursework taught by Rasmussen College criminal justice instructors, and hands-on work supervised by North Dakota law enforcement officials. The trainees even developed some skills in a real-world setting—pepper spray training, for example, is completed at the Cass County Jail.

The first nine students to enroll in the corrections officer training academy graduated in December 2013. The prospective officers were sponsored by the Cass County Sherriff’s office and held conditional offers of employment based upon their completion of the training. Now that they’ve completed their training, they are all fully employed as corrections officers.

Rasmussen College plans to offer this correctional officer training to the public as well as to candidates sponsored by law enforcement agencies in April 2014.

The corrections academy will be beneficial for both trainees and law enforcement agencies, says Currie Myers, dean of Rasmussen College’s School of Justice Studies.

“Often corrections training is overlooked from the law enforcement side of the house,” Myers said. “Professional, topical training is essential, and we can now quickly train officers to get them to their agencies to serve.”


Prior to the partnership with Rasmussen College, corrections officers at the Cass County Sheriff’s office would be hired on with the expectation that they would go through the correctional officer training in Bismarck, N.D., within a year.

But the Bismarck facility struggled to keep up with the demand for corrections officers due to the state’s oil boom and rapidly growing population. Rasmussen College and corrections officials worked together to create the curriculum and gain approval from the state of North Dakota to begin training new officers.

Fargo campus director John Smith-Coppes says the response to the training course from local law enforcement officials has been positive.

“The people I’ve talked to say that choosing between hiring someone with this training and someone without it is easy,” Smith-Coppes says. “They say that by paying for the training the potential officers will have the motivation and skills to not only stick with the job but to excel at it.”

Learn more about the exciting opportunities the Rasmussen College Justice Studies offers its students!

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As a community blogger at Rasmussen College, Will researches and writes blog content focused on students, alumni and community events at Rasmussen College. He is passionate about learning and hopes that the inspiring stories of Rasmussen College students will help motivate current and prospective students to achieve their educational goals.

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