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CO Training Academy: Week 20 - Nov. 25-30


During week 20 of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy, recruits continued their firearm training from week 14, using their Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols. Recruit School #9 was briefed on safety guidelines and rules that must be adhered to during the indoor firearm range training. Training started with review of the five fundamentals of shooting and practice with basic marksmanship skills.

Monday afternoon the recruits applied the five fundamentals of shooting during live-fire exercises, receiving instruction on the different types of malfunctions they may encounter with their pistols.

To advance in the training academy, recruits must demonstrate that they can handle firearms safely, demonstrate proficiency in tactical marksmanship, draw and reholster their firearm safely and effectively, use cover/concealment, and assess and neutralize threats to themselves and/or others.

Monday evening the recruits held a ceremony for Conservation Officer Danny Walzak to celebrate his 40 years of service to the DNR Law Enforcement Division. CO Walzak, a firearms instructor, has been involved in training every recruit school.

“Being a part of training the recruits has been some of the most rewarding and memorable times of my career. I enjoy the opportunity to mold the recruits into future conservation officers as they begin their careers,” Walzak said.

Walzak, recruit school 9

Monday photo 1: Recruit School #9 honored Conservation Officer Danny Walzak for his 40 years of service.

Walzak, award. 40 years

Monday photo 2: Conservation Officer Danny Walzak has served the DNR Law Enforcement Division since November 1978.


On Tuesday morning the recruits were introduced to shooting from cover by using barricades. Recruits fired at targets from behind barricades in both standing and kneeling positions. It is important for the recruits to understand the difference between cover and concealment and to be able to engage the threat effectively while utilizing cover for safety.

marksmanship, pistol, recruit

Tuesday photo 1: A recruit practices basic marksmanship using his issued Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistol.

indoor range, pistol, recruits

Tuesday photo 2: Recruits practice firing their issued Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols at the indoor firearm range.


Wednesday morning the recruits welcomed a guest instructor for physical training, Cpl. Bradley Dohm. Dohm led the recruits through a one-hour yoga session – a welcome break from their normal rigorous physical training. The yoga allowed the recruits to build core strength as well as stretch for their upcoming firearms qualification course.

Following morning physical training, the class was split into two squads. Squad A engaged marksmanship targets at distances of 7, 10 and 15 yards. Squad B engaged silhouette targets and practiced shooting in low-light conditions. The recruits practiced engaging targets from both standing and kneeling positions and from behind barricades. To qualify with their pistol, the recruits must demonstrate all the skills that they have learned in their training so far, including shooting in low-light settings. This includes reloading and clearing any firearm malfunctions that may occur.

recruits, gym, yoga recruits, gym, yoga

Wednesday photo 1: Recruits complete one hour of yoga for physical training.

Wednesday photo 2: Yoga allowed recruits to stretch for their afternoon firearm training.


Thursday the recruits reviewed the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards marksmanship course, close combat, and a full-light and low-light intermediate combat stage course. The week culminated with the MCOLES firearm qualification course. Every recruit must be able to pass the qualification course with his or her issued Sig Sauer .40 caliber pistol in order be certified as a law enforcement officer in Michigan. Conservation officers must requalify annually to maintain their certification.

Thursday evening the recruits concluded their training by completing written exams. The recruits were given blank firearm part diagrams and had to name all the parts of their issued firearms.

low light, pistol, marksmanship

Thursday photo: Recruits practice in low-light settings with their issued Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols.


Friday the recruits reported to the nearby DNR Lansing Customer Service Center, where they assisted with stocking and organizing equipment in the new division warehouse. The warehouse serves as the new deer check station and office/storage space for both the DNR wildlife and law enforcement divisions. The recruits unloaded several pallets of equipment and gained a better understanding of how equipment is acquired and distributed to the field.

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