First employed police recruits graduate Dec. 9

Law enforcement agencies from UP to metro Detroit will gain new officers

EDITORS: Media coverage of the graduation is welcome. It will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Cherryland VFW Post 2780, 3400 Veterans Drive, Traverse City.

TRAVERSE CITY — Students in NMC’s first 16-week condensed Police Academy program will graduate Saturday and head immediately to jobs around the state, exiting an enrollment- to- employment pipeline that will ultimately improve community safety in Michigan.

Nine of the 10 graduates are employed, or sponsored, recruits whose tuition was paid for through the Michigan Public Safety Academy Assistance Program, established a year ago to help address the critical, statewide need for additional police officers. Law enforcement agencies are eligible for up to $20,000 per recruit for tuition and other training costs, plus $4,000 in salary.

Thanks to that and changes to NMC’s structure which condensed the Academy from two semesters to one, eight agencies are now gaining an additional officer: police departments in Traverse City, Manistee and Farmington Hills, sheriff’s offices in Grand Traverse, Manistee, Antrim and Benzie counties, and the Escanaba Department of Public Safety.

“That creates a potential police officer for us in literally half the time,” said Grand Traverse County Sheriff Mike Shea, who will attend graduation to support his recruit, Andrew Bankey. “We will be able to have that officer in a patrol car the week after he graduates. It is going to help immensely.”

Shea expects Bankey to be on the department’s schedule the week of Dec. 15. He also plans to sponsor at least two and possibly three recruits in NMC’s Academy starting in January. The combination of the state assistance program and NMC’s shorter structure means Shea’s hiring picture is much brighter than a year ago.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we have turned a corner, at least locally,” said Shea, who graduated from NMC in 2005 himself. “Between people in the hiring process and/or being sponsored, I believe we will have all of our current vacancies accounted for.”

When Connor Rischel graduates Saturday, Manistee Police Chief Josh Glass will fill one of his three current vacancies. Rischel is the first sponsored recruit Glass has had in his 20-year career. Like Shea, Glass said the 16-week schedule made it possible.

“It gets the person up and running and impacts the services we provide our community,” he said. “Not as many people are entering our profession.”

Glass praised the Police Academy curriculum under the leadership of Director Gail Kurowski, who has led a shift to scenario-based training, which simulates real-world situations. The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), sets a minimum threshold for such training that NMC far exceeds.

“Whenever possible, we will teach the MCOLES training modules with scenario-based instruction,” said Kurowski, who expects another class of ten, eight of whom are sponsored, to start in January.

“Based on my experience, I certainly would promote or advocate for sending students to NMC’s academy,” Glass said.

NMC is also the only academy in Michigan to offer drone certification to students. NMC can also meet another practical need for recruits.

“One of the big draws for NMC is that they have housing available. That’s a big deal in northern Michigan,” Glass said.

For more information on NMC’s program, visit

Media coverage of the graduation is welcome. It will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Cherryland VFW Post 2780, 3400 Veterans Drive, Traverse City.

Release date: December 7, 2023

For more information:

Cari Noga
NMC Communications Director
(231) 392-1800 (mobile - call or text)

Day-of graduation contact:
Gail Kurowski
NMC Police Academy Director
(517) 256-8772 (mobile)



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