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CO Training Academy: Week 15 - Oct. 21-26

Recruit School 9 of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy returned to Lansing after spending the previous week at Camp Grayling. During week 15, recruits learned about domestic violence law and traffic crash investigations and procedures – situations that can be emotionally and physically taxing for any law enforcement officer.


The morning began with a 6-mile run, followed by chow and daily inspection. During inspection, the recruits were evaluated on Michigan conservation law, their appearance, and cleanliness of their room and the entire floor. These inspections instill attention to detail that is necessary for conservation officers. 

The first legal lesson of the week covered laws pertaining to domestic violence situations. Retired Michigan State Police Inspector David Greydanus taught the class about domestic violence laws, the difference between domestic violence and nondomestic violence assaults, and the penalties associated with both.

“Even though conservation officers focus their work primarily in the woods and on water, they still respond to domestic violence calls when they’re nearby,” said CO Jason King. “It’s important that the recruits know how to respond to a domestic violence complaint and take appropriate action.”

Detective Dianna Mills, Mount Morris Police Department, continued domestic violence law in the afternoon. Mills taught recruits how officers respond to domestic situations and the characteristics of offenders.

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Monday photo 1: A recruit prepares her room for daily inspection.

Monday photo 2: Two recruits inspect one another’s uniforms prior to daily inspection.


Domestic violence situations are among the most physically dangerous and emotionally draining complaints that an officer may respond to. Officers often arrive to a household or venue that they are not familiar with, and oftentimes encounter extremely emotional individuals. Additionally, an officer would be unaware of weapons in the house/venue, which a suspect could retrieve at any time.

Detective Mills discussed examples of various domestic situations, providing the recruits with guidance on handling the upcoming scenarios. In one scenario, recruits had to deal with verbal disputes between multiple parties. A different scenario started as a verbal dispute and escalated to physical violence. Recruits had to resolve both situations based on what they had learned.

Tuesday evening the recruits had an additional physical training session that emphasized team building and pushed the recruits out of their normal comfort zone.

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Tuesday photo 1: A recruit (left) uses his domestic violence training to try and calm down an actor (wearing the orange vest) who was reported for being hostile.

Tuesday photo 2: Recruits respond to actors (wearing orange vests) in the midst of a heated domestic violence argument that turned into a physical altercation.


Wednesday morning the recruits completed a “stairs and chairs” physical training session, designed to build strength while improving cardio endurance.

After morning inspection, the recruits learned about traffic crash investigations with Michigan State Police Sgt. Scott Carlson. Recruits learned how to conduct a traffic crash investigation and file the proper paperwork, a UD-10 traffic crash report. 

“Every year over 320,000 traffic crashes occur on Michigan roadways, resulting in over 1,000 fatalities and countless injuries. It’s important that law enforcement officers and other traffic safety professionals understand proper traffic crash investigation procedures and reporting,” said Sgt Carlson.

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Wednesday photo 1: Recruits line up in teams to complete burpees, a weighted sled push and farmers walk with kettlebells.

Wednesday photo 2: A recruit begins his farmers walk, carrying two kettlebells.


Thursday morning the recruits swam in the tank for physical training. Following the workout, recruits continued traffic crash investigation training with Michigan State Police officers. Topics included mock roadway scenarios, evidence gathering, field sketching and measuring.

The recruits learned how to document evidence such as tire skid marks, impressions and tracks, brake marks and more. This training will help recruits estimate the speed of a vehicle prior to a crash and how environmental factors (rain, snow, ice, etc.) may have contributed.

On Thursday night the recruits took their cumulative criminal law exam.

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Thursday photo: Recruits learn about traffic crash investigations and procedure with Michigan State Police troopers.


Friday the recruits completed their lesson about traffic crash investigations by studying evidence collection, witness interviews and traffic investigation summary review.