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Recruit School #11: Week 11

Sept. 18-23, 2022

Author: CO recruit writer

Sunday, the remaining 13 recruits returned for week 11 of Conservation Officer Recruit School #11. We were all anxious to find out what our schedule would look like and excited to acquire more skills that will help us move one step closer to becoming conservation officers.

Monday’s classes were a glimpse into some specialty units of the DNR and Michigan State Police. We had the pleasure of meeting members of the DNR’s Special Investigations Unit and Great Lakes Enforcement Unit and MSP’s Bomb Squad. The Special Investigations Unit focuses on some of the largest poaching crimes in Michigan. The Great Lakes Enforcement Unit is responsible for policing the commercial fish industry and retailers. I was especially excited to meet and learn about these unique groups of officers and how they conduct their duties and investigations. 

On Tuesday, we started learning about conducted electrical weapons – a handheld device that propels two small electrodes at a target, and debilitates a person’s physical movements. Law enforcement officers carry CEWs in case they encounter violent individuals. CEWs  are one of the many tools  conservation officers carry in the field. We spent the entire day receiving training from our survival tactics instructors. It was my first time holding a CEW. I appreciated learning how serious of a tool they are and enjoyed the hands-on experience. 

a person in a protective outfit holds a foam lamp in a dark room

Photo caption: During survival tactic training, recruits entered a scenario room filled with fake furniture and a violent person who they had to control. This gave recruits experience with containing large and violent crowds.

Wednesday was a mix of feelings amongst the class. We experienced excitement and anxiety prior to our CEW tests, but by the end of the day we had completed another hurdle. The entire class passed the CEW practical and written tests. Later that night, we were reminded not to become too comfortable in our daily routines.  With comfort can come complacency, which can be detrimental to how conservation officers perform duties in the field. Conservation officers need to be prepared for any situation. After Wednesday, I was extremely tired but continued to focus on adapting. 

recruit in a dark room handcuffs a person while two people watch

Photo caption: During a scenario, a recruit (on the right) handcuffs a person who was acting violent at a party while two party-goers (on the left) pretend to record the situation on their phones and cause distractions.

Thursday was filled with learning a ton about tactical operations. I was very excited to learn the techniques of how to clear rooms and buildings of threats. Conservation officers are trained emergency responders and are prepared to respond to any type of situation, including active shooters, and so we must be prepared for just about anything. Later that evening, already very tired from the first half of the week, I was anxious to take the law exam. But I passed and realized what I can accomplish, even under stress and exhaustion.

three officers walk a hallway practicing active shooter scenarios

Photo caption: Recruits practice techniques to clear rooms and buildings of threats in the hallway of the Michigan State Police Training Academy. Recruits learned how to communicate with each other when approaching corners, stairwells, doors and other blind spots in the event of a threat. 

four recruits walk up stairs and around the corner of a building during a training scenario

Photo caption: Recruits practice approaching a building and covering each other in an active shooter scenario. 

Friday, we began learning about emergency preparedness and hazardous material. I was surprised to learn about the many different types of hazardous material that conservation officers encounter. The DNR has a specialized group of conservation officers in the Environmental Investigations Section funded by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. This unit is responsible for investigating crimes that effect the environment and might include investigating illegal chemical disposal or an abandoned boat that may or may not be leaking fuel. 

The week ended on a good note. The entire class was excited to learn that we all passed our law exam and were one step closer to becoming Michigan DNR conservation officers.

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