Success story: Police Academy anticipates enrollment boost

October 26, 2022

NMC Police Academy program students in a training session

A new, $30 million state scholarship fund to train more police officers is coinciding with major changes to NMC’s Police Academy, setting up an enrollment to employment pipeline that will ultimately benefit community safety.

Announced last week, the Public Safety Academy Assistance Program was established to help address the critical need for additional police officers statewide by reducing or eliminating the cost associated with basic police training. Law enforcement agencies are eligible for up to $20,000 per recruit for academy tuition and other training costs.

Grand Traverse County UnderSheriff Mike SheaGrand Traverse County Undersheriff Mike Shea (left) said that will be a boost to his department, which earlier this year had 10 vacancies in the patrol division. He just attended the Michigan Sheriffs Association conference and of the 70 counties represented, all but one or two were struggling with vacancies.

“We are bleeding police officers. They are leaving the profession at an alarming rate,” said Shea, a 2005 NMC Police Academy alumnus himself.

“It serves both the agency and the student,” NMC Police Academy director Gail Kurowski said of the scholarship. “There are a lot of people that might be considering a career in law enforcement that don’t have the financial wherewithal to put themselves through a program.”

Applications are now open for agencies who intend to enroll recruits in an academy session beginning on or after January 1. Next fall is also when NMC debuts a new, four-month structure for its academy. That cuts in half the current time needed to complete the program and will allow NMC to better compete for students it might have previously lost to condensed academies.

“The 16-week program is going to be huge,” said Shea, who already has a candidate in mind as Grand Traverse County’s first employed recruit to start next fall.

“We’re not only not going to lose the people we have in the past to other academies that are condensed, but hopefully we’re going to attract others because of what we have to offer,” Shea said.

NMC is the only academy to offer drone certification to its recruits, for instance. NMC also far exceeds the minimum requirement for scenario training, which simulates real-world situations, set by MCOLES, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

“We are going to have over 60 hours of scenario training,” she said.“That is huge. There is no academy in Michigan that’s going to have that.”

The $20,000 per recruit would more than cover NMC’s tuition. NMC is also the northernmost academy in the state, making it an attractive option for agencies from the UP and northern lower peninsula. Shea said another plus is that NMC’s instructors are all either law enforcement officers or attorneys.

“There is no one better to teach than those who are living it,” he said.

The combined impact of NMC’s condensed program and the new scholarship should increase the ranks of those seeking to enter what Shea called “a noble profession.”

“I’m very hopeful that that pendulum will change,” he said.

Want more stories like this?

NMC students past and present are achieving success in the classroom and in their careers. This section showcases just a few examples.

Sign up for NMC Now to get these stories, plus upcoming campus events and media mentions, delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday. View past issues here »

Sign up now!

Already a subscriber?
Forward this story to a friend!

Section Navigation