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Fridrich graduates from academy

DICKINSON - After over two months of training, Dickinson's Justin Fridrich graduated from the Bismarck Law Enforcement Training Academy on March 20.

Fridrich was hired as a deputy for the Stark County Sheriff's Department in February 2007. After undergoing field training and gaining valuable law enforcement experience, Fridrich left for the academy on January 7, 2008.

He said being employed at the Sheriff's Department prior to the training was a huge benefit at the academy and since he has graduated.

"The academy just adds to that experience and fills in the gaps," Fridrich said. "The biggest advantage is knowing more of the specifics on how to do my job."

He added the academy answers many of the questions he asked himself before enrolling.

"The segment on criminal and traffic law was the most helpful to me," Fridrich said.

Completing his academic training has made him more confident in his job.

Fridrich was part of the Stark County Sheriff's Reserve for over a year before he was hired full time. Before the reserve, though, Fridrich's career was headed down a much different path.

When he finished high school, Fridrich worked for a construction company. He then attended college in Wahpeton for plumbing. He became a journeyman plumber and continued in that business for over four years.

In 2001, Fridrich and his brother Jason opened Southwest Wireless in Dickinson. Fridrich continues to help his brother in the ownership of the business.

Although it took him a few years to pursue a career in law enforcement, Fridrich said it has been in the back of his mind for some time.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," Fridrich said. "On the reserve program I just grew to like it more and more...that just gave me the leap forward to go for the full-time position."

He chose the Sheriff's Department because he felt it fit his personality better than other law enforcement agencies.

"I like the freedom of being out and about more than being in town," Fridrich said. "It's pretty much the best job I've ever had."

He also is able to utilize skills he has gained from other jobs.

"My experience in working with computers and electronics in the past...has helped me help them with the new computer system that we have," Fridrich said.

Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy is grateful for Fridrich's diverse background.

"It's nice to have people with computer and tech experience in the department," Tuhy said.

Fridrich has experiences in other areas as well.

"With my business I learned how to communicate with the public on a daily basis," Fridrich said.

Tuhy added communication is a crucial part of a deputy's job.

"In this job you have to be a people person and Justin is very good at dealing with people," Tuhy said. "I'm really pleased with the work ethic he's got."

Working with people is one aspect of Fridrich's job he finds very rewarding.

"It's an honor to be able to service the community of Stark County," Fridrich said.

Tuhy said the department currently has a strong sense of team work and Fridrich has added to it.

"Justin's been doing a fantastic job," Tuhy said. "I think the community and Stark County will be very pleased."