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Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement Emphasis

The mission of the Law Enforcement Technology program is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary for employment as an entry-level law enforcement officer, as assessed through student competency evaluations and employer/student satisfaction surveys.

Degree Description

A law enforcement officer is an official representative of government who is entrusted with a wide variety of duties. Regardless of the type and size of the organization they work for, law enforcement officers are expected to perform in a professional manner. The highly competitive nature of obtaining most law enforcement positions requires applicants to be prepared academically, be physically fit, as well as have the hands-on skills necessary to do the job. Many entry-level applicants for law enforcement positions are encouraged or required to have completed at least two years of formal post-secondary education. The Western Dakota Tech - Law Enforcement Emphasis program will help prepare students with these requirements.

If you are or have been convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or certain misdemeanors, you are advised that you may not be able to complete all course requirements for your chosen program, you may be prevented from taking required certification/licensure examinations in your chosen program field, and you may be prevented from gaining employment in your program field.

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Application Process

1. Complete WDT Application online at www.wdt.edu
2. Submit High School transcript or GED scores.
3. Submit Immunization Records verifying two doses of MMR vaccinations.
4. Submit official college transcripts if you have previously attended a post-secondary institution.
5. Schedule an Admissions Advising Session (can be completed on campus or by phone).
6. Complete the ACCUPLACER test ($15.00 fee).
(The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading, or a SAT sub score of at least 440 in Verbal and Math. The scores must be within the last five years.)
7. Copy of valid driver’s license (required to complete Law Enforcement Academy)

The ACCUPLACER is offered Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m.
Please call 605-718-2565 to make an appointment.

In order to participate in Law Enforcement Academy, during the final semester, you must complete the Law Enforcement Restrictions Acknowledgment form. (The Program Director will assist students with this requirement the first week of class.)

Note: In accordance with South Dakota Codified Law, and the South Dakota Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission, all individuals serving in the capacity of law enforcement officers in the State of South Dakota must be at least 21 years of age prior to appointment.

If you are or have been convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or certain misdemeanors, you are advised that you may not be able to complete all course requirements for your chosen program, you may be prevented from taking required certification/licensure examinations in your chosen program field, and you may be prevented from gaining employment in your program field.

Students that sit out for a spring or fall semester or longer, will return under a new Catalog and may be required to repeat courses or successfully complete new or revised skills or competency assessments. Before readmittance, the program may need to determine if a student is eligible to continue in technical courses. Program sequencing and cohort size may prevent enrollment in technical courses.

Clinicals, practicums, and internships may include, but are not limited to, differential shifts (evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays) to meet industry expectations. This may require travel outside the Rapid City Area.

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Career Description

Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Police officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Working around the clock in shifts is common.

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General Education EMT

After Earning Your Degree

Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. The continued desire for public safety is expected to lead to new openings for officers, although demand may vary by location.  The median annual salary for the Law Enforcement field is $62,270.

Meet Your Faculty

Western Dakota Tech has a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning more one-on-one learning. Individual attention from your professor can make your college experience more fulfilling.


  • Peter Ragnone

  • William Armstrong

  • Anthony Verchio

Financial Aid

Continuing your education is crucial and Western Dakota Tech wants to make sure that any student who wants to attend school, has the opportunity to do so. For this reason, WDT is dedicated to administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program fair and consistently to anyone who needs it.

Build Dakota Scholarships

The Build Dakota Scholarship at Western Dakota Tech will pay all your tuition and fees and prepare you for a career that is in-demand and growing in South Dakota. Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical careers with skilled professionals.


Student Housing

While Western Dakota Tech does not offer on-campus housing, we understand that finding a place to live within town while you go to school can be difficult. We have a few resources to help prospective students find affordable housing.

Child Care

Finding child care during school is a challenge for many students. Western Dakota Tech currently does not offer on-campus child care, but here are some resources that may help you in your search.

Youth & Family Services is an organization dedicated to helping children in Western South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including child care at multiple locations.

The Y of Rapid City offers child care and other services.

Disclaimer: Western Dakota Tech provides these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation, endorsement or adoption by Western Dakota Tech of any site or any information contained therein. When you leave wdt.edu, you should be aware that our terms and policies no longer govern. Western Dakota Tech makes no claim or representation regarding, and accepts no responsibility for, the quality, content, nature or reliability of third-party websites or vendors.

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