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Recruit School #11: Week 3

July 24-29, 2022

Author: CO Recruit writer

Looking back on the third week of Recruit School #11, I can say that I have become more efficient with time management, attention to detail, and cardiovascular type exercises. The toughest part about the academy for me is being more than eight hours away from home and missing my family. A positive impact the academy has had on me are the friendships I have built with my fellow recruits along with many different classes and trainings I have been able to partake in.

Sundays are the day of preparation for the upcoming week. Recruits return to the Michigan State Police Training Academy after having Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday until 1800 (6 p.m. in military time), to relax and reset our minds for another week of hard work, learning, and top-notch training. At 1800, we line up outside of the training academy, not knowing what to expect for the following week. Conservation Officer Kyle Bucholtz conducts roll call, and we receive our weekly work details. In a single file line, we walk into the training academy and report to our floors to prepare ourselves and gear for the upcoming week.

Recruits have a full day starting at 0500 and ending at 2200. Monday at 0500, reveille sounds. This is our constant wakeup call throughout the academy.

0600, we line up outside of the gym and receive directions for our daily physical training. CO Bucholtz and CO Danielle Zubek advise us of our exercises – a 3-mile timed run, a plethora of sprints, lunges, and carrying a fellow recruit on your back up hill. Physical training concluded and we returned to our rooms to quickly shower and prepare ourselves for breakfast.

man standing in hallway

Photo caption: Recruits line the hall for morning inspections.

Following “chow time” (breakfast), daily inspections take place at 0745. During inspection, officers critique what you’ve done to ensure you can pay attention to the smallest of details.

The rest of our morning consisted of survival tactics training. Survival tactics training is crucial to help keep us safe while we are in the field. Each week we add new maneuvers, takedowns, and self-defense tactics. Later in the day we learned about contraband and regulatory crime laws with Mr. David Greydanus, retired MSP inspector. Mr. Greydanus will teach us all the main aspects of the law throughout this academy, criminal and constitutional.

Tuesday, our day began with physical training in the “tank.” We swam laps, dove to bottom to retrieve bricks, tread water, among other water exercises. Michigan is full of lakes and rivers; swimming is a critical skill that conservation officers must possess. Survival tactics training and contraband and regulatory crimes lessons continued from Monday. Our second legal law exam was coming up on Thursday, many of us study during breaks and in between our weekly work detail (housekeeping, kitchen duty and gym duty).

Man performing pullup

Photo caption: A recruit does a pullup during morning physical training in the gym.

man on rowing machine

Photo caption: Recruits participate in a partner workout, where one recruit uses a rowing machine and the other performs burpees. The team to complete the most rounds wins extra phone time.

Wednesday started in the gym with pullups and chinups, along with two-person team exercises on the rowing machine. Survival tactics training focused on the proper means of handcuffing and how to properly and safely detain/arrest individuals. In the evening, Mr. Greydanus taught us about firearm crimes and explosives. The remainder of our day was spent focusing on our second law exam, which we would take the next night.

man handcuffing training prop

Photo caption: Survival tactics instructor Conservation Officer Brad Bellville teaches handcuffing techniques to a recruit, using a training prop.

Thursday started with “stairs and chairs,” one of the most challenging mornings of physical training that we so far experienced. For one hour, we did shoulder presses, “dips (using chairs for support),” shoulder raises, lateral raises, elevated push-ups, and then ran seven flights of stairs multiple times. This was one of the tougher mornings of physical training that we endured. After physical training, we were tasked with our first graded scenario for survival tactics. The scenario helped us understand the importance of proper handcuffing and subject control and safety. Each week the tests get more intense. Thursday concluded with a two-part test that counted as our second legal exam.

Friday started with exam review. If you pass the exam(s) then you can focus on other aspects of the academy. If you do not pass an exam, you are required to take a remedial test. Academy staff will assign a date on which you can retake your exam and hopefully pass. Without a passing score you might be dismissed from the academy. Sgt. Jason King and CO Zubek have both embedded in our minds how crucial it is to pay attention to every detail in class along with using our free time to study when given the opportunity.

Being able to balance multiple tasks throughout a day is important because once we’re in the field, you never know what or how many different instances or issues you will run into. We are learning how to manage and control our stress levels more efficiently.

Later in the morning, Dr. Michael Comer, contract police psychologist for DNR Law Enforcement, taught us about certain mental disorders and how to respond appropriately when dealing with someone who is experiencing a mental health episode. After lunch, the remainder of our day included work/job details and physical training before we were released for the weekend.

Read Week 4.