Mid-Michigan police departments improving their training programs in new ways

As police numbers dwindle and fewer people go into the force, local departments are struggling to recruit new police officers.
Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 4:18 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With an uptick in crime, police departments across Mid-Michigan are putting all hands on deck to fight crime.

As police numbers dwindle and fewer people go into the force, local departments are struggling to recruit new police officers. Now more departments are paying their newest deputies through training. Ingham County could be the next department to do so through Lansing Community College.

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News 10 spoke with Eaton County sheriff Tom Reich about why he thinks it could make the community safer. Reich remembered a time when he would get hundreds of applications for each job posting.

“Now we get one or two and they have to go through the process,” Reich said.

When trying to find applicants, Sheriff Reich said it is every department for itself, and when they do find them, it is not all said and done.

“They have to be interviewed,” said Reach. “They have to go through psychological testing, through physical fitness testing before they’re even accepted to go on the road.”

Now departments like Eaton County are recruiting smarter not harder. To get fresh faces on the force, Eaton County paid prospective deputies through the academy.

Meanwhile, Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said they will do the same.

“Not only are we paying their tuition,” Wriggelsworth said. “They’re getting paid to go to school to get the education and when they come out, they can go straight to the street.”

Wriggelsworth said that paying students way through the academy gets rid of the barrier excluding some from entering the force and losing prospective police officers is not something most departments can afford. In 2023 the sheriff said he will have to fill at least 12 spots from retirement and he thinks that it will be hard without programs like this.

“They’d be employees of ours but still have some education to do before they actually hit the street and do the job,” Wriggelsworth said.

Both Wriggelsworth and Reich told News 10 that they hope this brings in more police officers.

“Sure, you can sit in the office eight hours a day and look on the computer and do everything that way,” said Reich. “But being in a police car and being in the open air and meeting people, talking to people, solving crimes, and putting bad people in jail. That’s rewarding.”

The Ingham County Sheriff will start the program at the beginning of 2023. The students would be trained through the Mid-Michigan Police Academy at Lansing Community College.


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