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Law Enforcement Program Grows

June 29, 2022

Iris Reyes Mijares has driven thousands of miles in the past few years in pursuit of her dream of becoming a law enforcement officer. The Riverland Community College student and 2020 Northfield High School alumna is excited that other students from Northfield and the surrounding area can now benefit from a more convenient local option: taking law enforcement classes from Riverland faculty at the Northfield Community College Collaborative (NCCC).

“It was a struggle driving back and forth from Northfield to Austin, and vice versa, for almost one hour and twenty minutes one way, but I knew it would all be worth it at the end. That’s what kept me going,” said Mijares, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Metro State University once she graduates from Riverland in 2023.

“When I found out about the law enforcement program that the NCCC was offering, I was so happy to see that other students wouldn’t have to struggle as much as I did. I’m glad that’s an option students have to continue their careers.”

The law enforcement program launched at the NCCC in August 2021 and is a collaboration between the NCCC, Riverland Community College, and the Northfield Police Department. Students can take most of their classes from Riverland faculty at the NCCC, located on the second floor of the Northfield Community Resource Center, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, instead of having to travel to the Riverland locations in Austin or Owatonna.

“We had the intro to criminal justice class at the police department one night, and the Northfield Police Department gave Riverland a police cruiser to use for training. It’s a testament to the relationship we’ve worked to establish between Riverland and the Northfield Police Department,” said NCCC Director Sarah Lee.

One goal of the collaboration has been to increase the diversity of local law enforcement personnel so it’s more reflective of the community’s demographics. Scholarships and financial assistance have been provided to women and students of color through support from WINGS (Women in Northfield Giving Support).

Word of mouth helped increase interest in the program from last fall to the spring, Lee said. Ten NCCC students are now working toward their law enforcement degrees; the cohort includes eight women, nine students of color, and four parents.

New students can enter the program at any time and begin taking classes. During the summer session, which started June 13, the NCCC is offering two classes for the law enforcement cohort: police report writing, and physical training and wellness. Students in the cohort can also take additional courses at the NCCC.

The NCCC is registering all students for the fall! Eight in-person classes will be offered. An orientation for all new and returning students is set for Aug. 15, and through a grant from WINGS, free childcare will be offered during the fall evening classes.

The NCCC also provides tutoring and helps students apply for financial aid and scholarships. For more information about the law enforcement program, or about the NCCC’s other programs, contact Lee at 507-581-3581,


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