The 142nd Michigan State Police recruit school is in full swing. About 50 men and women are in the middle of intense physical and mental training.
It's a 26 week long, residential program that will give these recruits the skills they need to protect and serve the people in our state. A big part of that is traffic stops, dreaded by most drivers, but truly a way to keep us all safer on the roads. When a trooper makes a stop, they never know what they're going to get - so real-life training is key. This year there was a big change to that program.
Allura Jones and Ingrid Nova just got pulled over. Here’s what Ingrid had to say about it, "It's a lot of fun it helps you realize that troopers are just nice, regular good people. They're not the bad guys. Not the typical reaction to a traffic stop - but today they know this will not end in a ticket. It's all part of a trooper training exercise, one that Ingrid was grateful to be a part of. "I think it's a neat opportunity for just a regular citizen to see how the troopers learn what they're doing, kind of feel more connected to them so that - not that I’d ever get pulled over in the future, but if I were, maybe I’d have a more personal understanding of how they work, how they train."
This is the first time the Michigan State Police invited civilians to participate in this real-life scenario training. Captain James Grady says, "We're trying to bridge the gap, it's been a little bit tough for the law enforcement profession over the last couple of years. And this is just another avenue to bridge the gap with people that we serve they can come out, get a better idea how we train, get a better idea of why we do the things we do.”
Captain Grady says they also hope to get feedback from these volunteers, and create relationships with the people they serve. Just like in real-life, not every scenario plays out the same, which keeps these recruits on their toes.
Recruit Thomas Jorgensen appreciates this experience. "When we're out here doing this and you're on a traffic stop one minute and then being sent to a breaking and entering or doing any type of medical it's always it's always something different. So just having the ability to be on different scenarios at any minute." That's because the duties as a trooper will change day to day, moment to moment.
But there is one constant - their dedication to the people. Something Capt. Grady feels strongly about. "You want to have that desire to go out and protect and serve to be that guardian to the public, to be a part of the community and serve that community. You know we work for them we're out there to help protect them when we're working and doing this job. And so, you really have to know that you have that guardian mentality you know the warrior mindset has to be there too. So, you have to turn that on to protect others and yourself." It's a quality these recruits share, including Recruit Jorgensen. He says, "I just really enjoy helping people it's something I really have a call for. Prior military and then being able to work in the school system a bit and just led me here to a new career path." It's what Capt. Grady says is making this team-effort training the perfect combination. "You can learn from them; they can learn from you, and you appreciate them. And they appreciate you as well. And I think that does need it out here in our society is that appreciation and respect for one another."
The Michigan State Police is hoping to fill its next recruit school, as well as many other positions, including civilians. Head here for more information.