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Training Academy #12 Blog

Week 1: Building bonds

Sept. 5-9: Twelve officers from law enforcement agencies throughout the state begin their 10-week fish, game and recreational safety, education and enforcement training. These individuals come to the DNR as established law enforcement officers who made the career change to become conservation officers.
Week 1

Week 2: Waterfowl school

Sept. 11-15: The 12 probationary conservation officers from Training Academy #12 team up with Training Academy #11 at the Bay City State Park Recreation Center to learn the tips and tricks of everything waterfowl.
Week 2

Week 3: Firearm training

Sept. 18-21: Even with several years of law enforcement and firearm experience, the probationary COs were still excited to learn new rifle, shotgun and sidearm techniques and skills.
Week 3

Week 4: Trapping school

Sept. 24-29: PCOs were excited to spend the week in the Houghton Lake area for trapping school. One of the week's highlights included learning coyote and bobcat specifics from a world-renowned wildlife biologist and trapper.
Week 4

Week 5: Survival tactics and first aid

Oct. 2-6: Training Academy #12 gains confidence during survival tactics and first aid training to not only help others, but to also save themselves. Week 5 included intense scenarios but was described as "the most beneficial medical training that I received." 
Week 5

Week 6: Big and small game, wildlife necropsies and more

Oct. 9-14: Probationary COs became certified hunter safety education instructors, had the chance to hit the skid track with their patrol trucks, were humbled by the history of those who came before and learned much more on their journey to complete Training Academy #12.
Week 6

Week 7: Water safety

Oct. 15-20: Two intense scenarios and the well-known ice bath were highlights of water safety week. With varying water abilities, probationary COs learned basic water skills, then expanded on each technique to build confidence in the water.
Week 7

Week 8: Fish identification

Oct. 23-27: Things get a bit “fishy” during Week 8 of the Conservation Officer Training Academy #12. This week’s author, from Plainwell, Michigan, describes all the fish identification and enforcement activities he and the other officers experienced. 
Week 8

Week 9: Search and rescue and ORV patrols

Oct. 29-Nov. 3: Training Academy #12 ventured onto public land in Roscommon County for search and rescue and off-road vehicle training. Read about the search and rescue tactics, making a fire with minimal supplies and the twists and turns of ORV training.
Week 9

Week 10: Graduation

Nov. 6-9: The final week of Training Academy #12 had finally arrived! But before the 12 probationary COs could walk across the graduation stage, they had to face the pressure of one last, physical test.
Week 10

Recruit School #11 Academy Blog

Week 1: Not the average first day

July 10-15: Fifteen Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer recruits lined up in alphabetical order and walked in single file formation to the entrance of the Michigan State Police Training Academy, located in Lansing.
Week 1

Week 2: Still settling in

July 17-22: Recruits at least had – from their surroundings – visuals of what to expect. The rest would remain a surprise, since recruits only know to structure their days around physical training and chow, followed by daily inspections.
Week 2

Week 3: Pay attention to every detail

July 24-29: Staff have embedded in our minds how crucial it is to pay attention to every detail in class.
Week 3

Week 4: Water safety

July 31-Aug. 5: The instructors have been hinting that this week will be the hardest physically and mentally for the majority of us. 

Week 4

Week 5: More water safety

Aug. 7-12: After looking back on week 5 of the recruit school academy, I can truly say that this week was my toughest challenge yet. It was another full week of water safety that was more rigorous than the previous week.
Week 5

Week 6: Moving with purpose

Aug. 14-19: This week was very rewarding week. Individually, but more importantly as a team, this week boosted our confidence and motivated us to come back for the upcoming week and put in even more effort. 
Week 6

Week 7: Arrests and search procedures

Aug. 21-26: Throughout the week, we learned how subject identification and control are key factors in traffic stops. Without attention to detail, failure is inevitable. Everything we learned this week was based on timing and precision.
Week 7

Week 8: Drive training

Aug. 28-Sept. 2: Recruits were looking forward to week 8, a nice change of pace from the usual, stressful academy lifestyle. This week focused on emergency vehicle operations (EVO) and emergency vehicle maneuvers (EVM). 
Week 8

Week 9: Rifle and shotgun training

Sept. 5-9: Recruits spent the week at Camp Graying receiving firearms training to meet Michigan and DNR rifle and shotgun qualifications.
Week 9

Week 10: Self-discipline

Sept. 11-16: After a week away, recruits return to the training academy and experience the physical effects of CS/OC spray, complete Fit for Duty, and experience a scenario with an angry hunter.

Week 10

Week 11: Emergency response and management

Sept. 18-23: Week 11 did not disappoint. As recruits near the half-way mark of the 23-week academy, there is still much to learn. This week was packed with emergency response and management, learning about specialized conservation officer positions, handling violent individuals and crowds, and more. 
Week 11

Week 12: The bread and butter

Sept. 25-30: After weeks of eagerly waiting, it was time to focus on fish identification – what this week's recruit writer refers to as the "bread and butter" of being a conservation officer. Read more about how recruits were thrown a curveball in what seemed to be a straight forward, legal scenario and a special  guest who helped recruits end the week with team building physical training.
Week 12

Week 13: First aid

Oct. 2-7: Week 13 focused on first aid which included theatrical blood and wounds to ensure recruits had the most real-life training experience possible. 
Week 13

Week 14: Search and rescue; firearms training

Oct. 9-13: This week's author reminisced back to when they were a child, safely building fires and forts in the woods of northwest Michigan, and describes the exhilarating experience of directing a helicopter as one of the best events of the academy that they will always remember.
Week 14

Week 15: Traffic crash investigations

Oct. 16-21: Recruits learned how to conduct traffic crash investigations, which conservation officers do regularly, particularly when it comes to off-road vehicle and snowmobile accidents. Recruits also learned how to conduct sensitive investigations and recognizing the signs of human trafficking.
Week 15

Week 16: Evidence preservation and survival tactic evaluations

Oct. 23-28: A former swimmer, cross-country and track and field athlete, this week's writer talks about some of the physical training workouts they find enjoyable. They're also able to apply their criminal justice education to this week's lessons about evidence collection and preservation, and appreciated the teamwork of a fellow recruit with bowhunting experience during a scenario.
Week 16

Week 17: Off-road vehicle training

Oct. 30-Nov. 4: Recruits were excited to return to the DNR Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon for a week of learning (and riding) anything and everything related to off-road vehicles.
Week 17

Week 18: Hitting our stride

Nov. 6-10: Recruits face the intensity of their cumulative legal exam while qualifying for portions of their state handgun credentials. The week was lined with multiple surprises, encouraging recruits to stay focused because graduation is getting closer. 
Week 18

Week 19: Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and court prep

Nov. 13-18: This week’s recruit writer talks about Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, and a challenging scenario using simunition (realistic, nonlethal ammunition) that helps prepare recruits for real-life situations. Read more, too, about recruits’ participation in the opening day of firearm deer season, a field trip to the Eaton County Courthouse, and why everyone looks forward to Thursday nights.

Week 19

Week 20: Final firearm qualifications

Nov. 20-23: Recruits were back at the indoor firearm range for skills and drills aimed at improving accuracy and preparing them for real-life situations. It was their final step to complete the remaining Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards firearm qualifications.
Week 20

Week 21: Big and small game

Nov. 27-Dec. 2: Big game week! It's the one recruits have been waiting for. Recruits had hands-on experiences performing necropsies to locate bullet evidence, and had the chance to drive a CO patrol truck in scenarios, too. This week's recruit writer admits it was a little overwhelming learning the many different hunting seasons and species, but – as Recruit School #11 so often does – these driven men and women combined their knowledge and finished strong as a team.
Week 21

Week 22: Dressed in green

Dec. 4-9: Recruits received a pleasant surprise when they arrived for week 22 – they were finally allowed to dress in their Class C uniform! With a new sense of pride and respect gained from the uniforms, recruits faced (literally) tear gas as part of a crowd control exercise, completed final exams, studied motor vehicle code, and more.
Week 22

Week 23: Exams, trucks and graduation

Dec. 11-16: In our final blog, the last recruit writer of the 23-week Conservation Officer Recruit School Academy talks about the dreaded final exam, describes the surreal experience of sitting in their very own patrol truck for the first time, and honors the full-circle moment of realizing all the work and effort had paid off.

Week 23