Department of Natural Resources
After two weeks of performance training, Recruit School #9 returned to the classroom for week six of the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy.
Monday morning David Greydanus, retired Michigan State Police inspector, continued legal lessons with “public order crimes.” Recruits learned the elements of various crimes, including lying to a police officer, resisting and obstructing, and fleeing and eluding.
Monday afternoon recruits applied their report-writing skills through scenario training. The scenario incorporated various topics that had been reviewed during the previous weeks – including fish and game violations, officer safety and attention to detail. Paired in teams of two, recruits were taken to a nearby lake, where they observed a female standing on a dock holding a fishing pole. After conducting a fish check and addressing observed violations, recruits wrote their report based on the scenario.
Monday photo: Recruits went through a scenario that involved a woman on a fishing dock who could not find her fishing license and denied the caught fish was hers. The experience was used to practice report writing.
On Tuesday Inspector Greydanus instructed on “admissions and confessions,” including personal property and constitutional amendments. Platt Weinrick of the Michigan State Police spoke to the recruits about fortified weapons, weapon handling and the process for weapons turn-in.
Survival tactic training continued with repetitions of high and low rush techniques and ground assaults. Conservation officers don’t practice until they get it right – they practice until they can’t get it wrong.
“A CO needs to be able to protect others, while also protecting themselves – an alternate plan of action is part of a CO’s tactical thinking,” said CO Josh Wright. “Repetitious survival tactic training will help instill that mindset.”
Tuesday photo: Recruits practice survival tactic skills.
Following physical training in the tank, Inspector Greydanus continued his lesson with “warrantless search procedures.” Greydanus spoke about the importance of using good judgment and understanding the laws that officers will be enforcing. The lesson included when a private person can make an arrest (citizens arrest), when law enforcement officers can enforce laws outside of their jurisdiction, legal collection of bond and diplomatic immunity.
The class warmed up for survival tactic training by practicing handcuffing techniques. Recruits then took turns completing a scenario where they handcuffed a person who had a warrant for arrest, and then conducted a subject search to locate weapons or contraband. After recruits successfully completed the scenario, instructors demonstrated how to properly use a baton and methods to disarm a person with a weapon.
Wednesday photo: Conservation Officer Kenny Lowell works with recruits on survival tactic training. Every training of the DNR Conservation Officer Academy is instructed by a conservation officer who has received specialized training in the related field.
After breakfast and morning inspection, Conservation Officer Shannon Kritz taught recruits about game laws and regulations. It’s important that COs review and stay up to date with fish and game laws – it’s their job to protect natural resources. Recruits then had the opportunity to practice public engagement by presenting the information they just learned to each other.
DNR Law Enforcement Division Assistant Chief Dean Molnar presented on the importance of ethics in policing.
“Ethics play an important role in law enforcement careers,” said Assistant Chief Molnar. “Ethical behavior can help guide conservation officers throughout their career and result in positive impacts throughout the communities that CO’s live and work in.”
During survival tactic training, Conservation Officer Steve Martin discussed in-custody deaths and how to prevent a situation that may result in death. An observant officer can plan and implement precautions to take control of a situation.
Recruits then took turns completing an escaped convict scenario. In the scenario, the recruit conducted a foot pursuit around obstacles in search of an escaped convict. The recruit had to demonstrate safely approaching the convict, communicating clear commands and proper handcuffing techniques.
Thursday photo: Recruits took turns completing an escaped convict scenario.
After an intense morning workout, recruits learned about admission and confessions and search and seizure laws. It’s important that law enforcement officers understand search warrant procedures, as it can determine the outcome of a case. If search warrant procedures are not conducted properly, the case could be thrown out.
Recruits received the good news that their entire team passed the fourth legal exam from Thursday evening. The remainder of the day consisted of prepping for the following week’s tasks and making sure the common areas of the academy were presentable and squared away.
Friday photo: At the end of the week recruits are responsible for ensuring the entire academy is clean and put back to order.