MHP, Basic Training Trainees Graduate Together for First Time
HELENA – A little history will be made at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy on April 1, when law enforcement basic-training students and Montana Highway Patrol recruits graduate alongside one another for the first time.
Prior to this class, general basic training– for police and sheriff’s officers – and the MHP recruit academy were conducted separately.
“We think the combined class is the best way to foster good working relationships between departments, right from the very beginning,” said Attorney General Mike McGrath. “These officers are working together and backing up one another every day.”
Many cases, particularly those involving drug trafficking, require officers from different agencies to work together. In addition, law enforcement careers in Montana frequently take officers from one agency to another.
“We wanted the Patrol to be trained in some of what other officers are trained in, and other law enforcement agencies wanted training on some of what the MHP specializes in,” MHP Col. Paul Grimstad said. “Now, since officers will receive the same basic training, they can be confident in any agency’s ability to assist on nearly any kind of case.”
MLEA administrator Kevin Olson added that the combined class is a more efficient use of academy facilities and staff.
“We have taken the best parts of two academies and combined them into one quality program,” he said.
Thirty-six students will graduate Friday. This class – Basic Course No. 124 – includes eight MHP recruits, 10 sheriff’s office recruits, 17 police department recruits and one “pre-service” student.
On April 10, MHP trainees will return for an additional five-week course on topics more specific to the Patrol, including crash investigations, truck and school bus inspections, hazardous materials and more detailed study of the state’s motor vehicle statutes.
Graduation ceremonies at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, 2260 Sierra Road E., are Friday April 1, at 10 a.m.