Mentoring Future Law Enforcement Officers with Real-World Stories

Officer Sanowand DogIn less than three minutes, Officer Chad Sanow’s life changed forever. On Oct. 26, 2010, the Fairmont, Minn. police officer kissed his family goodbye, got in his squad car and responded to what he thought was a house fire. When he arrived, a man armed with a shotgun opened fire hitting him in the chest and again in the hip.

“Within two minutes and 30 seconds of leaving my driveway, I got shot twice and almost lost my life,” said Sanow.

He survived that tragic event and today he’s going around the state telling his story of that terrifying night and talking about the struggles he faced with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was recently the guest speaker at a Rasmussen College Law Enforcement Mentor Program event, where he spoke to nearly a dozen Justice Studies students and alumni at the Bloomington campus.

The program matches criminal justice students at the Twin Cities campuses with alumni working in the law enforcement field. Currently, there are six mentors and mentees. They meet about once a month and often talk about what it takes to get from the classroom to a police station.

“Sometimes students think they’re going to graduate and become a detective right away, and that’s not necessarily the case,” said Anne Sumangil, Director of the Rasmussen College Alumni Association. “They’re going to have to work their way up and a mentor can help them through that process.”

Speakers like Sanow are brought in as a way to educate students about life on-the-job.

“He has such an incredible story,” said Sumangil. “We knew both our current students and alum would learn a lot from hearing his story.”

In his presentation, Officer Sanow broke down minute by minute the moments before and after the shooting. He also played the 911 and dispatch recordings.

“I never saw the shooter,” said Sanow. “It’s something that haunted me for months because I never got a chance to shoot back.”

Sanow credits his vest for saving his life. He showed images of the vest, as well as his uniform, which has holes from where the bulletofficers anow uniform fragments struck him. He spoke about the importance of wearing a vest every time you put on the uniform because what may seem like a house fire may turn into a gunfight.

Sanow also talked about what he calls his “emotional rollercoaster” following the shooting. He went from being angry to sad to being afraid to go outside.

“I wouldn’t even go in my garage without my gun,” said Sanow. “I didn’t know if the shooter had a partner who was going to try and kill me.”

He decided to go see a psychologist who suggested he try to get back to normal as soon as possible. It turned out to be best thing he ever did.

“I was suffering from PTSD,” said Sanow. “It has nothing to do with how good of an officer you are. It happens to a lot of people and not by choice. You can get through it, but recovery does not happen on its own.”

Sanow says he hopes his story teaches fellow and future police officers that it’s OK to ask for help.

“Never be afraid to share how you feel because even though you’re a police officer, it’s OK to be scared,” said Sanow.

Are you interested in learning more about the Law Enforcement Mentor Program? Contact Anne Sumangil at

Molly Andersen

Molly Andersen is the Senior Strategic Communications and Brand Engagement Manager at Collegis Education. She's a passionate storyteller who believes in the power of education. Molly is responsible for creating content that educates, engages and inspires current, past and future students at Rasmussen College. 


Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college.

Add your comment


Please enter your name.


Please enter your email.


Please enter your comment.


Take the Next Step—Talk to Us!

There are some errors in the form. Please correct the errors and submit again.

Request More Information

Talk with a program manager today.

Fill out the form to receive information about:
  • Program Details and Applying for Classes 
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify)
  • Customized Support Services
  • Detailed Program Plan

Step 1 of 3

What's Your Name?

Please enter your first name.

Please enter your last name.

Step 2 of 3

Contact Information

Please enter your email address.

Please enter your phone number.

Please enter your five digit zip code.

Step 3 of 3

Program Preferences

Please choose a school of study.

Please choose a program.

Please choose a degree.

The program you have selected is not available in your area. Please select another program of interest.

By requesting information, I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided. There is no obligation to enroll.

icon-colored-advance icon-colored-build icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-developement icon-colored-growth icon-colored-national icon-colored-prep icon-colored-regional icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-paperwork icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-camera icon-filter icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-share-square-o icon-spinner icon-tag logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-testimonial-quotes icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-button icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-button icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x