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Recruit School #11: Week 22

Dec. 4-9, 2022

Author: CO recruit writer

We arrived Sunday night for week 22 and received exciting news – this would be the first time we would be wearing our Class C uniforms! We have been working hard over the last few months to reach this point and now it feels official. Throughout the rigorous physical and academic training we’ve received, the academy staff deemed us worthy to wear it. This is a week we will not forget. We could all sense the difference in demeanor after putting on the green uniform, as wearing it gives us all a great sense of pride and respect.

Two teams of five swimmers with their legs wrapped around each other compete in the pool.

Photo caption: For morning physical training, recruits competed against each other as teams, while holding onto each other with their legs, using only their arms to swim backwards.

Classes this week went by quickly. Michigan State Police Troopers instructed us for three days on motor vehicle code to ensure we all had a firm grasp regarding state traffic rules, laws and regulations. Understanding motor vehicle code is an important part of becoming a conservation officer. Being that we will work from the road in our patrol trucks, we are expected to enforce more than just fish and game laws while patrolling. We all were issued our Class A/B dress uniforms at the end of Monday and took our first official department photos.

Four recruits walk through a cloud of tear gas.

Photo caption: Recruits team up to walk through clouds of tear gas. The controlled experience at the academy prepares them in case they encounter tear gas during their career.

We spent two afternoons with the troopers, learning about civil disorder procedures. The gist of this training was to give us an understanding of proper procedures and techniques for crowd control and riots, and how to support other law enforcement agencies. To complete this block of instruction, all recruits had to walk through clouds of tear gas. This experience was not as bad as getting sprayed in the face with CS/OC spray (commonly referred to as “pepper spray”), but it was no picnic. Just like OC spray, exposure to this now, during the academy, is essential. We would not want the first time to feel the effects of this gas happen when we may be in a potentially critical situation.

Mid-week our class took the exit MCOLES physical fitness test. The final test is more difficult than the initial entry test to get hired. Everyone must perform more repetitions of situps and pushups, jump higher, and complete the shuttle run in a shorter period of time. Once the physical portion is complete, we’ll take the final written exam during week 23.

Staff from the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division Recreational Safety, Education and Enforcement Section joined us to instruct hunter, off-road vehicle, marine and snowmobile education. We all tested and passed the same training that anyone in the state would have to in order to get their DNR recreational safety certifications. We also received additional training, which will allow us to instruct and certify recreational safety students.

Det. Daniel Kennedy, conservation officer from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, spoke with us about some of the state’s environmental rules, laws and regulations. We also learned how to spot and properly report violations of these guidelines. To our surprise, we also received a visit from DNR Director Daniel Eichinger and Deputy Director Shannon Lott. Our class was grateful that they took time out of their schedule to talk with us face to face. They filled us in on recent updates affecting us and our department and answered many of the questions that we had.

The week ended with Tom Gillman, a Delta College public safety officer, who has long experience in law enforcement. He presented to us a national campaign, called Below 100. The goal of the campaign is to reduce line-of-duty deaths to fewer than 100 per year, which has not happened since 1943. Through his presentation we learned about some of the leading causes of line-of-duty deaths, current trends in preventable such deaths and injuries, and general statistics. A lot of the preventable deaths and injuries we learned about resulted from personal complacency. The big takeaway, even though we’re all excited to be finished soon so we may get out there and work, is that we all need to remember to not be hasty in our duties, to ensure our peers and ourselves make it home to our families at the end of each duty day.

Read Week 23.