It’s a difficult and challenging time for members of some law enforcement agencies around the country, as high-profile cases of alleged and proven wrong-doing by police officers in larger cities have put law enforcement officers under an even brighter spotlight than usual.
While the Minot Police Department hasn’t been immune to criticism in the past year, our officers haven’t endured the same type of scrutiny as other departments. Talk of defunding or reorganizing police departments continues in some parts of the country, but that discussion hasn’t been appropriate or necessary in Minot. No one is claiming our officers are perfect, but we simply don’t have the same types of misconduct allegations as departments in larger cities.
The Minot Police Department had a busy year in 2020: Chief John Klug reports that his department responded to 37,809 calls for service last year, an average of just over 103 calls per day. Every day. While that number is down from the 41,088 calls for service in 2019, our officers had their hands full last year considering COVID-19 complicated nearly every call for service.
Despite the complications brought on by COVID-19, Minot’s officers continue to work diligently to maintain a strong relationship with members of our community. Past and current leadership have created a department that serves and protects the residents of Minot with integrity and respect. The police department strives to build on its already positive relationship with the community by being as visible as possible, taking part in events like National Night Out, Battle of the Badges, and the annual Stuff a Squad toy drive.
Then, there’s the Citizens Academy, which allows participants to get an up close and personal glimpse of what goes on at the Minot Police Department, and to interact closely with law enforcement officers in a learning environment. In 2020, the Citizens Academy was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2021 academy is scheduled to be held this spring. All sessions and events will be held in compliance with the ND Smart Restart guidelines and local public health recommendations.
Classes are scheduled to be held on Tuesday evenings between May 4-25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. In this four-week program, participants will get hands-on instruction in the area of patrol operations, crime scene response, special operations (SWAT, bomb squad, K9 units), use of force, and weapons familiarization. Applications are due by April 23, and can be submitted to Master Officer Aaron Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be contacted at (701) 857-4711.
I’d encourage you to consider taking part in the academy. There are many benefits of holding the Citizens Academy. It’s good for the participants, and it’s good for our officers.
Our officers are very aware that they work in the searing spotlight of public scrutiny, and they accept that responsibility every day. They strive to conduct themselves with the highest levels of professional responsibility and integrity. The officers will work closely with members of the public during the three-hour sessions, sharing information about their job duties and how they conduct a variety of operations. It’s also a welcome opportunity for officers to spend time with members of the public in an informal, educational environment designed to facilitate open and honest discussion about the challenges facing law enforcement agencies.
For the participants, the Citizens Academy is an opportunity to meet members of the Police Department on a personal level. It’s a chance to ask why the department performs its duties in the manner it does. It allows participants to better understand the inner workings of the Police Department, as well as the operations and training methods used by the officers. Participants are also encouraged to join a patrol officer for a ride-along to see the officers on the job, and to experience a little bit of the challenges our officers face on a daily basis.
Past participants – both police officers and members of the public – have utilized the Citizens Academy as a learning experience. It continues to have a positive influence on those who attend, as members of the community and our officers have shared their perspectives and opinions about a wide variety of issues during the academy’s sessions. Open and honest communication can lead to a mutually beneficial understanding of both our police department and our community’s expectations of law enforcement, and that’s a good thing.
Sincerely, City Hall.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.