They serve and protect our communities — but right now there just aren’t enough police officers in Michigan.
A new, local program is helping fill those vacancies at departments everywhere faster.
Now, people with associate degrees, bachelor degrees or military experience just need one more year of education to become officers.
That’s instead of the typical two years of training most have to go through.
“There’s over 600 openings for jobs for police officers in the state of Michigan,” said Northwestern Michigan College Police Academy Director Brian Heffner.
The state needs more police officers.
So Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City came up with a solution that could help fill the gap.
“This certificate program allows me to not have to take an extra year of college. I can just take the core requirements, get my certificate and take the state board,” said Adrian Poulisse, a cadet with the academy.
Poulisse has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, but wanted to change directions.
“It’s more efficient, it’s cost-effective and I can go out and serve the community. Even before this academy, I had almost 200 credits. To add another year onto that, I might as well be a doctor.”
The fast-track will be a big plus for the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department.
They hire from the local academy.
“Many of those graduates come to work for the sheriff’s office. We like local people working for the sheriff’s office. They tend to stay here, more so than some other employees,” said Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley.
And if graduates want an adventure, there are plenty of opportunities in other places.
“We also have a reciprocity agreement with about 30 other states in the United States, and we’re constantly having recruiters come up from other states,” Heffner said.
“Once you’re licensed, you can pretty much go and walk into a job nowadays,” Poulisse said.
The academy will have recruiters visiting from a few different states next week.