Lessons in Law Enforcement: Learning What it Means to be a Police Officer

Local News

Any good job recruiter doesn’t just wait for applicants to walk through the door, they go out looking for future employees.

The Mandan Police Department is doing just that, only the recruits they’re looking at aren’t even out of school yet. 14-to 21-year-old kids may be the future of North Dakota police.

The Explorers program is not just a Mandan thing. About 20 kids represented Mandan PD, and the others came from Minot and West Fargo Police Departments for this training.

We asked one of the explorers, “Is it a little nerve-wracking to you? Learning all this stuff and realizing, maybe in a few years, you might be doing this?”

“Yes, it is. But at the same time, I’d rather make mistakes now than later, and put my life or someone else’s at stake,” Explorers Captain Shayla Newgard said.

Sixteen-year-old Newgard has always been interested in law enforcement.

“My mom actually, she worked at the Morton County Jail as a corrections officer,” explained Newgard.

She hasn’t decided if she’ll be a police officer, go into the military or maybe even become a radiologist, but these kids tell me this training can help with any career.

“It’s really helped me come out of my shell because you kind of have to step up to yourself on the plate,” added Newer Explorer Megan Hass.

They practice room clearing and traffic stops, but one of the biggest lessons is handling domestic incidents.

“Those can go very well or horribly wrong, depending on how that officer responds,” shared Newgard.

An important lesson, considering almost 37 percent of aggravated assaults in the Capital City in 2018 were domestic violence-related. KX News didn’t hear back about statistics from Mandan.

“We’re just learning how to be good people along with this, and we’re learning to do things the correct way,” Hass added.

Two years later, Founding Officer Michael Wood said they’re setting these up and coming officers apart from the rest.

“It’s not just the going in and doing the room clearing. It’s not just the shields and the stuff we’re doing today, we teach them about criminal law, about traffic law. We teach them about how to write a report, what an affidavit is,” shared Officer Wood.

And, if you stick with the Mandan Explorers program all the way through, and want to work for Mandan PD, the agency will cover the cost of police academy.

Newgard said most of the kids are even CPR certified.

Officer Wood says, if you want to join the team, all you have to do is call or stop by the Mandan Police Department and ask for him.

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