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Posted on: April 3, 2019

Minot PD schedules Citizens Academy for May 7-28

Citizens academy robot

Participants in the Minot Police Department's Citizens Academy have an opportunity to see first-hand some of the equipment used by the Police Department, including the department's robot.


Senior Officer Aaron Moss is thankful for the support the Minot Police Department enjoys from the community. But he’s always seeking opportunities to educate the public through communication.

That’s why he’s looking forward to the 2019 Citizens Academy scheduled for May 7-28.

“We have a very supportive community, and this is another opportunity for us to interact in a positive way with members of our community,” Moss said. “The time to learn about what the Police Department does is now, not when you see the red lights in your mirror.”

The academy is scheduled for Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Minot Police Department. Moss said this is the second year of the four-week academy; in previous years, the academy consisted of as many as 10 sessions.

“We did it in this format last year, and we had very good feedback from the dozen participants,” he said. “It’s a little more condensed, but it still gives us the opportunity to present a lot of information.”

Moss said the department will accept applications until April 22. There are some restrictions on who can take part in the academy. Participants must be at least 18 years old, and cannot have a felony conviction on their record.

“If a person is interested but unsure if their past dealings with the law will disqualify them, we encourage them to talk to us,” Moss said. “Obviously there are things we can’t overlook, but often we can find a way to make it work.”

The academy is geared toward people who want to know more about how the Police Department operates, including some participants who may have had negative interactions with police in the past. Moss said the sessions provide an ideal opportunity to have open discussions about policies and procedures, including the “why” behind those policies.

“We want to have a broad cross-section of the public because this is an opportunity for us to educate the public in a non-confrontational manner in a learning environment,” Moss said.

Anyone interested can find applications online at https://www.minotnd.org/647/Citizens-Public-Safety-Academy or in the lobby of the Police Department. Moss can be reached at 857-4711.

Each session will have a different focus, including:

  • Patrol operations. This session features an overview of the department from Police Chief Jason Olson, along with information on Police Department procedures, equipment, and vehicles.
  • Crime scene response. This session provides hands-on opportunities for DNA swabbing, casting footprints, collecting fingerprints, classroom discussion on evidence analysis, and other topics.
  • Special operations. This session includes discussions about the SWAT team, bomb squad, bomb robot, bomb disabling and detonation, and the department’s K9 units.
  • Use of force. In this session, discussion will include state and federal laws, legal authority for use of force, case law on reasonable force, and simulated scenarios that include shoot/don’t shoot options. Participants will also be able to fire Police Department handguns and rifles.

“The last group we had, what really opened their eyes was the financial aspect of law enforcement,” Moss said. “Our funding comes from a variety of sources, and I think people are surprised that we don’t have an unlimited budget.”

Real-life police work isn’t like what you might see on television. Major crimes are investigated and solved in an hour.

“We call that the CSI effect, where some people think that we have unlimited resources to quickly investigate, make an arrest, and see it through to a conviction. In reality, it’s not that simple,” Moss said.

Overall, the goal of the Citizens Academy is to connect with the community as a way to help educate the public.

“We’re not trying to hide anything from the public,” Moss said. “This program has a wider reach than just our participants, because they talk to their friends, family, and co-workers about what they’ve learned. We want everyone to understand how we serve the public.”

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.

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