NMC readies for $30M Public Safety Academy funding

TRAVERSE CITY — 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 month, 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 tuition and other training costs, plus $4,000 in salary.

“It serves both the agency and the student,” NMC Police Academy director Gail Kurowski. “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.”

Grand Traverse County Undersheriff Mike Shea said that will be a boost to his department, which earlier this year had 10 vacancies in the patrol division. He recently 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.

Applications are now open for agencies who intend to enroll recruits in an academy session beginning 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.

NMC is also the only academy to offer drone certification to its recruits, and 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,” Kurowski 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 lower peninsula, making it an attractive option for agencies regionwide, as well as the UP.

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.

For more information on NMC’s program, visit nmc.edu/police.


Release date: November 2, 2022

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Associate Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination