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Recruit School #11: Week 10

Author: CO recruit writer

Sept. 11-16, 2022

Going into week 10, I needed to readjust to the firmness that the training facility requires. The adjustment was expected to be a challenge, coming from the more relaxed, off-site environment of the past two weeks to accommodate that training. Discipline – and knowing when and where to turn it on and off – is key.

Monday morning, Conservation Officer Kyle Bucholtz taught us how to write a report. During a scenario involving a man hunting small game, we had to identify violations, professionally correct the hunter and write a citation.

Later in the day Monday, David Greydanus, retired Michigan State Police inspector, taught us about juvenile law and laws regarding operating while intoxicated. Law classes are one of my favorite parts of the academy (so far) because law has always piqued my mind. Professor Greydanus creates a relaxed learning environment and makes the class interesting by keeping us involved in discussions.

instructor holding a punching bag for recruit to kick and punch

Photo caption: After being sprayed in the eyes and mouth with CS/OC spray (commonly referred to as pepper spray) recruits had to demonstrate their survival tactic strikes and kicks on an instructor. This scenario prepares recruits on how to safely defend themselves if they become physically disabled in some way while being attacked.

Tuesday was set in motion with survival tactics. We entered the classroom and saw the words “CS/OC Training” on the projector. CS/OC spray is commonly referred to as “pepper spray.” I quickly knew what that meant and how the rest of the day would be. After a lesson about how and when to use CS/OC spray, we went to the locker room to change into our physical training clothing. My nerves were soaring because I know what CS/OC spray feels like and it is not pleasant, no matter how many times you have been exposed to it. I received a dose of the gas to the face and mouth. It took a few seconds for it to settle in and I could not open my eyes. I learned how to effectively restrain and subdue a subject while feeling the effects of CS/OC spray.

Recruits endure CS/OC spray training so they can understand the physical side effects of the spray while in a safe environment. Recruits also learn how to safely defend themselves in case they encounter this situation as future law enforcement officers.

recruit on a gym mat outside handcuffing a mannequin

Photo caption: A conservation officer recruit practices handcuffing a mannequin after being sprayed in the face with CS/OC spray (commonly referred to as pepper spray).

After the CS/OC spray, Greydanus taught us about the laws of evidence.

In the evening, we reported to the gym to review the survival tactics skills we have been learning since week one. Survival tactics are important because law enforcement officers need to know how to defend themselves in the event of a physical attack.

Wednesday started by reporting to the gym for more survival tactics training. We continued to review the cumulative skills by applying the techniques on each other. Effective kicks, strikes and defensive techniques are crucial to maintaining control of a resistant and/or combative person.

In the afternoon, CO Matt Neterer taught about health and wellness. We were split into small groups and each person was assigned a topic to teach the class about. I enjoy teaching the class because public speaking is a big part of being a conservation officer. Conservation officers must have effective communication skills because they are asked to do a lot of public speaking and teaching.

Thursday started with a different kind of physical training. We were instructed to report to the classroom where we were debriefed on “Fit for Duty.” Fit for Duty is a physical fitness assessment that many first responders complete to ensure they can meet physical job requirements. The test consisted of different stations where we performed situps, pushups and burpees. After each station, we ran a quarter mile. By the time we finished the stations, we ran 1.5 miles total.

two people talking outside of a house; deer hanging in tree

Photo caption: Conservation officer recruits were instructed to arrive at the training house used for scenarios. When they arrived, they were told that there was an untagged, dead deer in the front yard and they had to address the misdemeanor violation with the homeowner. The situation quickly escalated, and recruits had to use their survival tactics skills to safely restrain the person.

For our Thursday morning instruction, we were instructed to report to the classroom for a scenario, which took place at the MSP scenario house (located on the MSP Training Academy campus where we spend most of our time).

We reported to the house one by one. When I arrived, I found a dead deer hanging from a tree in the front yard. An instructor told me that the deer was not tagged and to properly address the issue with the homeowner.

instructor watching recruit handcuff person on ground

Photo caption: Conservation Officer Sam Koscinski, survival tactics instructor, evaluates how a recruit handcuffs a combative person during a survival tactics training scenario. Recruits were tested on the physical defense moves they have been learning since the first week of the academy.

I informed the homeowner that it is a misdemeanor offense to be in possession of an untagged deer. The situation quickly escalated. I had to fall back on my training to deliver effective kicks and strikes to subdue the person and keep them under control until they were properly restrained. This was an eye-opening experience of what could happen in the future. It was very exciting to test the cumulation of survival tactics skills I have been learning since week one and receive feedback from the instructors.

three people standing outside of a training house during a scenario

Photo caption: A recruit receives feedback from an instructor after handcuffing a resistant person during a scenario at a training house. The scenario tested recruits’ survival tactic strikes, kicks and other physical movements.

Thursday afternoon, MSP Inspector Jason Nemecek taught a lesson about cultural and sexual harassment. The class taught me about implicit and explicit biases and how they affect law enforcement officers.

Friday – the final day of the week. Friday morning’s period of instruction was about cultural and sexual harassment, instructed by Michigan Civil Service Commission staff members Jessica Packard and Sarah Rankin. This class was interesting because we had multiple scenarios the class had to complete in small groups, which made us work together to come up with a common solution involving various types of issues that are unfortunately common in modern society.

Read Week 11