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Law enforcement program at Fond du Lac provides update about training

Updated: June 30, 2020 06:07 PM

George Floyd's death shocked many around the world. Former Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande was no exception. "It was really upsetting to me, from a police officer's perspective and as a trainer. Any time there is a controversial police interaction with the public, I feel it's harder to get qualified people to come into this profession."

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He's now the program coordinator for the Law Enforcement Program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. They had seen strong numbers and growing enrollment before COVID-19 and the Floyd case.

Now, he expects to see a mix of people who are passionate about joining to make a change, and others who may pull back from becoming an officer. For those who push forward, they are likely going to see the Floyd case in their lessons. "We always do current events and are constantly adding to our curriculum using real-life examples. That's why our program is so strong," Lamirande added.

They pride themselves on being the first college program to use something called PATROL, Peace Office Accredited Training Online, from the League of Minnesota Cities. "These modules take about an hour, and are about implicit bias. All of our students go through implicit bias 1 and 2, and in addition, we bring an outside consultant in each year to speak to our students about diversity," Lamirande said.

Instructors, who are current and retired law enforcement, already focus on de-escalation techniques. Speaking of those, the skills course had been put on hold because of COVID-19, but will resume in a couple of weeks. "We need good people to apply for this profession, who can earn and maintain the public's trust," he said.

They do not teach chokeholds.

Hibbing Community College also has a law enforcement program.  Interim provost Aaron Reini sent a statement: "Hibbing Community College recognizes the ethical responsibility that comes with training and developing peace officers. We have taken great strides in educating our campus and community on cultural competency and social justice but understand that we must do more. In coordination with state leadership, Hibbing’s faculty and administration are working to review and revise law enforcement curriculum, and at the request of Hibbing’s chief of police, college leadership is participating in a newly formed task force, charged with promoting anti-racism in our community. Hibbing Community College is committed to doing the hard work necessary to end discrimination and racism in all its forms."

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