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CO Training Academy: Week 23 - Dec. 17-21


Recruits took the long-anticipated MCOLES exam Monday, a test that must be taken and passed by all Michigan law enforcement officers. The exam encompasses most material the recruits learned throughout the academy. All recruits successfully passed the exam.


On Tuesday, the recruits focused on incident command. The class was instructed by DNR Law Enforcement Division Lt. Jennifer Wolf. Incident command is a standardized approach to the command, control and coordination of emergency response, providing a common hierarchy within which responders from multiple agencies can be effective. Her presentation encompassed the required elements of the mandated MCOLES curriculum.

Later, Dan Eichinger, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (and recently announced DNR director) spoke to the recruits about the organization. Founded in 1937, MUCC is the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.

The afternoon began with a presentation by CO Matthew Neterer on preliminary death investigations. Conservation officers must always treat a death as a homicide until proven otherwise.

“It is the responsibility of all responding officers to protect and secure the crime scene,” said CO Neterer.

Following his class, recruits embarked on a motivational ruck march through the Windsor Township State Game Area. A ruck march is a relatively fast march over a distance while carrying a heavy backpack. It is a common military exercise and used by conservation officers to travel great distances on foot while responding to natural disasters or investigating crime in very remote areas.

Recruits march through the Windser Township State Game Area

Tuesday photo 1: Recruits embarked on a motivational ruck march through the Windsor Township State Game Area. Officers use this technique to move armed officers from a staging area to an area where they are searching for armed subjects in relation to a crime.


Wednesday’s class began with a presentation from attorney Brett Naumcheff from Naumcheff Law and the Michigan Police Legal Advisor Group about officer-involved shootings. He discussed the rights and responsibilities of law enforcement officers and their partners when involved in a use-of-deadly-force incident.  

“Officers have to be able to justify every single shot in a use-of-force situation,” Naumcheff said.

The recruits were back in the classroom that afternoon for a lesson on financial planning with Dawn Patton and Matthew Teetor from LJPR Financial Advisors, specializing in retirement planning for police officers.


Thursday recruits received their final visit from Dr. Michael Comer for training on death notifications. In the afternoon, recruits received probationary training program instruction from Lt. Jason Wicklund and Cpl. Steve Martin. This class covered what is required of each recruit while in the 20-week probationary period, which started upon graduation for the new COs. 

With graduation quickly approaching, the recruits were issued their patrol trucks – 2018 Chevy Silverados equipped with police radios and computer hookups and filled with all the tools they’ll need to do their jobs in the field.

Thursday evening consisted of the recruits and staff practicing for their upcoming graduation ceremony.

Recruits learn about black powder firearmsRecruits are issued their Chevy Silvarado patrol trucksPatrol trucks equipped with police radios, computer hookups and other needed tools

Thursday photo 1: Corporal Steve Martin familiarizes recruits on black powder firearms they may encounter in the field during their Probationary Training Program class.

Thursday photo 2: On Thursday, recruits were issued their Chevy Silvarado patrol trucks.

Thursday photo 3: The newly issued patrol trucks are equipped with police radios, computer hookups, and filled with all the tools they’ll need to do their jobs in the field.


With the long-anticipated graduation day finally here, the recruits spent Friday morning prepping for the afternoon ceremony at the Michigan State Police Training facility in Lansing.

At 1 p.m., with lights dimmed, the recruits marched in unison into the auditorium and to their seats in the front. Over the next 90 minutes, speakers reflected on the hard work of the recruits, the dedication and support of their families, and the commitment of recruit school staff.

DNR Director Keith Creagh gave the keynote, highlighting how the conservation officers are the face of the department.

Next, Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler addressed the recruits. “You have a great responsibility to the profession, the division and the citizens of this state,” he said.

LED Assistant Chief Steve Burton noted how the recruits have grown and matured over the past 23 weeks, followed by Lt. Wicklund, who spoke of the commitment of academy staff.

Following speeches, Sgt. Wicklund presented the Academic and Technical Excellence Award to recruit Nathan Beelman and the Tactical Excellence Award to recruit Jesse Grzechowski. The outstanding performance award went to recruit Timothy Barboza.

Following the award presentation, Chief Hagler asked the recruits to stand and raise their right hands as they took the oath of office.

The conservation officers filed to the front and, as their names were called, accepted their certificates and badges. They moved to the side walls of the auditorium, where family members or other special people joined them to pin the new officers’ badges.

Next month, Michigan’s newest conservation officers will begin their probationary period, partnered with veteran officers, and receive additional training prior to reporting to their permanent county assignments.

Recruit Anna Viau elected by her classmates as the class orator speaking at graduationFamily members or another special person pinning badges on the recruitsRecruits receiving awardsRecruits stand to take the oath of officeRecruit School No. 9 class photo

Friday photo 1: Recruit Anna Viau was elected by her classmates as the class orator.  She spoke during the graduation ceremony.

Friday photo 2: Family members or another special person pinned on the badges.

Friday photo 3: Sgt. Jason Wicklund, recruit school commander, presented the Academic and Technical Excellence Award to recruit Nathan Beelman, the Tactical Excellence Award to recruit Jesse Grzechowski, and the outstanding performance award went to recruit Timothy Barboza. 

Friday photo 4: Recruits stand to take the oath of office.

Friday photo 5: Recruit School No. 9

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