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Training Division Facility Updates Underway

With recent efforts to refresh and improve the training our members receive, we’re also making physical updates to the Michigan State Police Training Academy building and outlying facilities in Dimondale.

Photo of outside of Training Academy

“Starting with the main entrance itself, you will notice a difference,” said Capt. James Grady, commander of the Training Division. “We wanted to ensure the building was easily accessible to everyone, so we now have a ramp at our main entrance, as well as new entry stairs.”

An aesthetically pleasing partition was added to separate the walkway and steps near the lower half of the area as well.

“We teach that first impressions matter,” said Captain Grady. “We think our new entrance reflects that.”

Photo of entrance inside Training Academy

The entrance project was funded by the Michigan Department of Technology Management & Budget (DTMB), which owns the building, while the MSP committed funding for numerous other improvements.

Inside the Training Academy, the gym has seen a major overhaul with new workout equipment and an improved layout to better utilize the space. There are four new weightlifting rigs for a total of 24 lifting stations complete with bars, plates, dumbbells and additional cardio equipment.

Photo of new equipment inside Training Academy gym

“This allows staff to develop more functional training which better prepares probationary troopers for the demands of the job,” said Sgt. Brian Kinaschuk with the Wellness and First Aid Unit.  “We teach proper lifting techniques and can assist with developing personalized strength and conditioning programs. There’s also an element of injury rehab with the new setup. Trainers have more resources to get people back to 100 percent.”

Resurfacing and enhancing the drive track at the Precision Driving Unit was a priority that was completed this year.  The enhancements include a completely redesigned skid pad with underground water storage, a reclamation tank and an agricultural well.  The newly designed skid pad enhances the training experience for skid control, as well as providing a more sustainable and efficient means of maintaining surface coverage.

“Although the layout of the track remains unchanged, revisions were made to increase the safety of our staff and students during training,” said Lt. Nick Darlington with the Precision Driving Unit. “These changes include the regrading of shoulders and ditch lines, and the addition of gravel traps which prevent tripping hazards should an off-road excursion occur. For added safety, we’re also in the process of constructing tire walls in strategic portions of the track.”

The lighting portion of the project is on hold until spring. When done in June 2023, it will include eight stadium lights and new fixtures on the north and south sides of the cone and skid pads. The added lights will allow staff to provide more training throughout the year and into evening hours.

In the future, the department could add its own outdoor shooting range near the Training Academy off Davis Highway near Canal Road.

“Having our own outdoor range would be much more efficient for our members and recruit classes, which currently have to travel to Barry County for long gun training,” said F/Lt. Tim Olson, commander of the Recruit Training Section.  “We could save approximately 40 hours of travel time for every Trooper Recruit School and offer more firearms and in-service opportunities to our members.”

The proposed outdoor range includes two 50-yard pistol ranges, a 100-yard rifle range, and a 360-degree range with room for expansion, a classroom building and live fire ballistic shoot house. 

“We are constantly assessing how to enhance, improve and modernize training for our members and policing partners while and also remaining competitive in today’s employment environment,” said Captain Grady.