NISSWA - As a student at Crosby-Ironton High School, Ryan Taggart for a time had aspirations of a career in medicine.
That dream, however, wasn't meant to be.
"I'm good at the science classes, but I don't enjoy them," said Taggart, a 2005 graduate of C-I High School.
So, like many he students, he entered college at Bemidji State University without a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life. Last winter, the 20-year-old BSU junior figured it out - law enforcement.
"I seem comfortable with criminal justice, the law enforcement field," Taggart said. "I know it's what I want to pursue."
Crosby native Ryan Taggart spends his nights patrolling the city of Nisswa with a police officer. He is participating in a 400-hour internship with the Nisswa Police Department while working toward a degree in criminal justice from Bemidji State University.» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd Dispatch/Matt Erickson
And part of pursuing his degree in criminal justice is a 400-hour internship with the Nisswa Police Department, which he started in November. Taggart's duties include patrolling with an officer, computer and radio work, writing citations and preparing paperwork for the city attorney and court administrator. He works about 30 hours a week, 10-hour shifts from 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
"He has no official arrest authority but he's an extra set of eyes and hands for us," said Nisswa police officer Brandon Rothwell, who is Taggart's cousin and who informed Taggart of the internship.
Though Nisswa doesn't advertise or take applications for interns, Rothwell noted that there have been several interns in past years, including a couple who have gone on to be law enforcement officers in Crow Wing County.
Position: Nisswa Police intern and junior at Bemidji State University seeking a degree in criminal justice.
Favorite sport: Basketball. He's played since he was in kindergarden and was a member of the Crosby-Ironton Rangers basketball team. He's impressed with the current Rangers. "They're fun to watch. I played with Bryce (Tesdahl) when I was a senior. It's good to see them growing up and Bryce breaking the scoring record."
Ideal job: Being an FBI agent. "It's just something I figure would be different everyday."
Not looking forward to in officer training: He's been pepper sprayed, Tasered by an instructor and he sat in a gas chamber as a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard. "I don't think it could get much worse."
Favorite species to fish for: crappie.
Favorite animal to hunt: Duck and goose hunting in Canada, deer hunting with his grandfather at his grandfather's cabin near McGregor. " He's getting a little older so you've got to cherish those moments now."
Most embarrassing moment: "I try not to remember my most embarrassing moments," he initially said after some thought. Later, while discussing hunting, he recalled the biggest deer he shot, a seven-point buck on his first hunting trip. That next day he said he missed a 10-12 point buck standing broadside about 20 yards away. "That wasn't too good. That would probably be my most embarassing moment."
Rothwell said having a police intern has worked out well for the city.
"The city benefits from it because they're getting an extra officer basically for free and it works out good for students, too, because you can only learn so much in the classroom," Rothwell said. "I like doing it because lot of officers in the area took me under their wing while I was going through school. I like to give back to the guys that are coming up."
While he hasn't been in any dangerous situations, Taggart said the most exciting part of the job is meeting other law enforcement officials and seeing how the law enforcement system works in Crow Wing County.
"It's been a little bit too cold to get anything too exciting," Taggart said with a laugh.
After graduating and completing his police officer training at Hibbing Community College, Taggart said he would like to work in the Duluth area, ultimately on a drug task force. He likes the Duluth area because it offers the best opportunity for his favorite hobbies of hunting and fishing.
"I like the outdoors and I think those outdoors are a little more exciting than around here," Taggart said.
Taggart has been a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard for three and-a-half years. This summer he will be deployed for a year to Iraq. While it will mean postponing his graduation, Taggart said he's trying to get as much schooling finished as possible.
"I'm not pushing things aside," in advance of his deployment, Taggart said. "I'm going to keep driving on and not worrying about it."
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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