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Training Academy #12: Week 3

Sept. 18-21, 2023

Author: PCO Kory Crawley, St. Louis, Michigan

The probationary conservation officers of Training Academy #12 spent this week in firearms training at the DNR’s Rose Lake Shooting Range in Bath Township. I was assigned as the team leader for the week, and my responsibilities included ensuring everyone had the proper equipment and making sure everyone knew the instructions and where to be.

officers standing in a circle outside performing stretches

Photo caption: A firearm instructor leads Training Academy #12 through stretches to prepare for dynamic movements while shooting. Due to the nature of their job, conservation officers have additional department firearm qualifications they must satisfy, which includes shooting from a variety of positions and lighting.

Firearms training is a vital skill for conservation officers so they can protect others and themselves while performing their jobs. Most of us have several years of law enforcement experience, including safely using firearms, and we were very excited to learn new techniques and skills that focused on our department-issued sidearms, rifles and shotguns. 

Monday began with Lt. Jeremy Payne, DNR Law Enforcement Division District 6 supervisor, who taught us about LED firearm policies. In the afternoon, we were issued our patrol rifles and shotguns that we’d be using for training that week and in the field as COs. We received our primary sidearm (a 9 mm Glock) and backup sidearm (also a 9 mm Glock, but a different model) during the first week of the academy.

officers laying in the grass target shooting with rifles

Photo caption: Training Academy #12 practices shooting their rifles with a scope from the prone position.

After receiving our long guns  (rifles and shotguns), we met the firearm instructors. They created a relaxed learning environment to ensure everyone felt comfortable to operate the firearms in a safe manner, starting with the basic functions and capabilities of each.

Tuesday began on the range with our lead firearm instructor, Cpl. Larn Strawn, DNR LED training section. We worked on the fundamentals of our stance and proper handling of our primary sidearm. Most of the day was spent on perfecting our stance and target shooting. That afternoon we focused on shotgun skills.

Wednesday began on the range with our primary sidearm, continuing with target shooting until it was time to put our skills to the test. In the afternoon we had to qualify with both sidearms to pass the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards qualification test – MCOLES firearm requirements that every law enforcement officer in Michigan must meet. We all passed, without a doubt thanks to our instructors.

Thursday morning, we reported to the DNR Dansville shooting range in Mason. We spent the morning sighting in our rifles and working on handling fundamentals. We shot from the prone position (laying on the ground), as well as while kneeling and standing. That afternoon we had to pass the MCOLES rifle and shotgun test to carry the firearms. We all passed and owe gratitude to our instructors, who were very professional and helpful all week.

Watch a short video about CO firearm training to learn more.

Read Week 4.