Familiar faces in the Grand Rapids Police Department
Courtesy / Lisa Campione
Recruit Gregory Bergland making a traffic stop during scenario training.
The Grand Rapids Police Department’s Recruit Class 13-01, including three Grand Valley State University Police Academy graduates, has completed its in-house training. The 10 new officers took their oath of office on Jan 22.
Due to budget cuts, this is the first recruitment in five years.
“It’s exciting to get some new officers into the program,” said Lt. Michael Maycroft of the GRPD. “We’re looking forward to having our new recruits as a part of the force.”
After an extensive interviewing process, Katie Laurie and Ryan Manser, both graduates of the Grand Valley Police Academy, and Scott Sale of the newly opened Grand Valley Veteran’s Academy were formally inducted into the force. These three graduates are now a part of the 70 individuals employed through the GRPD.
The veteran’s academy, which opened this summer, features a six-week training program as opposed to the regular 16-week process, and it provides training for military police personnel.
This program is the first in Michigan to provide a specialized opportunity for veterans to make the transition from military to civilian law enforcement.
The Grand Valley Police Academy is based on the traditional 16-week training program, with currently employed police officers as instructors. Students applying for the academy must first go through a lengthy and competitive application process.
Students enrolled in the police academy are faced with grueling 12-hour days. Monday through Friday they start training at 6 a.m. Some weeks they come in on Saturday, too.
“Dedication is a key quality in the students we accept into the program,” said Director of Criminal Justice Training Julie Yunker. “This program is mentally and physically challenging. If someone isn’t strong in these aspects, they will want to quit.”
Training is 60 percent hands-on education with a limited amount of classroom instruction so that students can gain experience that will help them apply their skills to a future job.
Around 80 to 85 percent of students are employed with a police force after graduation. From the class of 2013, 28 of the 31 students have been hired.
Before they have solo patrol rights, Laurie, Manser and Sale will have to complete eight weeks of in-house training sessions with firearms, local ordinances and equipment familiarity. They will then ride along with an officer for an additional 16 weeks, followed by a year of probation.
“When these officers get on the street they have a solid understanding of the Grand Rapids Police Department,” Maycroft said.
GRPD is looking to add more police officers to the force with a new grant for an additional 10 officers. The application deadline for the next recruit class is Jan. 31, with an anticipated start date of June 2014.
“We are looking for police officers with a strong academic background who show leadership qualities that are important to the force,” Maycroft said. “Our officers have good recommendations from people involved with their training and real life experiences that make them well equipped for the job.”