Department of Natural Resources
The week started with Lt. Lance Cook, from the Michigan State Police, who instructed recruits about the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. These lessons covered traffic laws and regulations and how to recognize violations in order to conduct traffic stops.
“Knowledge of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code is essential,” Cook said. “Many significant arrests have been generated through stops for minor traffic violations. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was arrested after being stopped for a minor license plate violation.”
If an officer doesn’t understand the motor vehicle code, they might not recognize potentially dangerous traffic safety issues, such as equipment or moving violations. Officers also need this knowledge so they do not make unwarranted stops.
Understanding these traffic laws also allows COs to better collaborate with other police agencies in their areas. For several years, COs and Michigan State Police troopers have worked together on traffic enforcement initiatives along M-115 during firearm deer season. Together, the law enforcement agencies have made multiple arrests for misdemeanor traffic violations, including operating while intoxicated, fugitive arrest warrants and conservation violations. In 2014, both agencies received the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission Award for the collaborative effort in protecting this busy Michigan highway.
On Monday afternoon, CO Joshua Wright instructed recruits about civil disturbances. This lesson covered riots, civil disputes and unlawful protests. The added scenario helped recruits recognize the difference between someone exhibiting violent, riotous behavior in comparison to a legal protest of law-abiding citizens, which is protected under the U.S. Constitution. Recruits had to incorporate their survival tactic skills as part of the scenario.
Monday photo: A recruit demonstrates his ability to handle situations of non-compliance by a protester during a demonstration.
Wright and Michigan State Police Trooper Aaron McCormick began Tuesday with instruction about riot control techniques. These techniques are used by law enforcement during times of civil disobedience or riots. Officers learn techniques to maintain peace that will help them move or disperse unlawful gatherings, perform a rescue in an unlawful crowd or make arrests.
Tuesday afternoon Capt. John Steele from the DNR Law Enforcement Division taught the recruits about the mobile and desktop application, Axon. The Axon application allows COs to store digital evidence in a “cloud” server. Recruits learn about the proper use of the application while they are in the academy because they will begin using it when they start their probationary field training in January.
Tuesday evening the recruits participated in respiratory mask training. The recruits learned how to properly put on their respirators (gas masks) and clear them in case of a chemical, nuclear or biological threat, or if they were assisting in a situation where tear or riot-control gas is deployed. Members of the Michigan State Police Emergency Services Team administered CS gas (used for riot control) to the recruits. The recruits had to don the respirators and clear them while managing the physical side effects of the CS gas. This scenario allowed recruits to understand the effects of the gas on their bodies as well as gain confidence that the masks are reliable in these situations.
Tuesday photo 1: Recruits practice working as a team to manage riots, civil disturbances and unlawful protests.
Tuesday photo 2: Recruits learn to properly put on their respirator while managing the physical side effects of CS gas, which is used for riot control.
Tuesday photo 3: The recruits stand in formation while being administered CS gas. This scenario provided recruits with the understanding of how to properly put on their respirators while being exposed to the gas while managing the side effects.
Tuesday photo 4: Recruits gain experience wearing respirators while being exposed to CS gas, a gas commonly used during riot control.
Detective Dan Kennedy, with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, presented about environmental crimes and the penalties associated. Kennedy explained his position within the DEQ and how COs can collaborate with the DEQ environmental investigations unit.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Steve Orange from the Law Enforcement Division’s recreation safety section, administered the ORV, snowmobile, marine and hunter safety instructor tests. After they graduate from the academy, the recruits will be able to teach recreational safety courses and present safety certificates to the public.
Wednesday evening the recruits had their final Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards physical fitness assessment. This is the third and final physical fitness test that the recruits must pass while in the academy. The standards become stricter each time the recruits take the test. The recruits must prove that their physical fitness has improved to meet the standards.
Sgt. Brian Blomstrom, a Michigan State Police contractor, instructed the recruits about HAZMAT training. Blomstrom taught the recruits how to approach and identify hazardous materials and effectively communicate with dispatch and other law enforcement agencies information about the situation. Recruits also learned how to read and decipher the HAZMAT guide books. As trained first responders, COs carry appropriate law enforcement HAZMAT gear in their patrol vehicles and are prepared to respond to certain HAZMAT incidents.
On Thursday afternoon Cpl. Ryan Rademacher, from the Law Enforcement Division’s recreation safety section, taught the recruits about hunter education safety and how to investigate hunter casualty incidents. COs are called upon to investigate or assist in hunter casualty investigations. While hunter casualty incidents are not common in Michigan, it is important to understand how to appropriately investigate the incidents when they do occur.
Friday morning Thomas Gillman, from the Delta College Department of Public Safety, presented “Below 100” to the recruits. Below 100 is an effective presentation for law enforcement personnel that provides real life examples of officers in different situations who have had to fight for their lives while on patrol. The presentation also instills the importance of being responsible while on the job, such as driving at a safe speed when patrolling or responding to calls and wearing seatbelts and bullet resistant vests. The presentation also effectively demonstrates the consequences of officers who are not compliant while on the job.
With 22 weeks down, recruits had one final week to complete prior to the Dec. 21 graduation.