School of Staff and Command: Guest Blogger Lt. Ryan Gagnon

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Michigan State University School of Staff and Command 7th class.  This is a 400 hour problem-based course that utilizes a blend of classroom facilitated learning and cutting edge distance learning technologies.  Problem Based Learning (PBL) represents the next generation in law enforcement training by fostering critical thinking, and employing learning philosophies appropriate in today’s law enforcement world.

School of Staff and Command prepares command officers for the future challenges we face in the public safety field.  Topics include; human resources, staffing, budgeting, internal investigations, supervision, communication, and resource allocation to name a few. 

What makes this course different from others is that it utilizes the Problem Based Learning Methods.  Problem-based learning (PBL) is an approach that challenges students to learn through engagement in a real problem. It is a format that develops problem solving strategies by placing students in the active role of problem-solvers confronted with an ill-structured situation that simulates the kind of problems they are likely to face as future leaders in law enforcement organizations. 

This course was very challenging yet extremely rewarding.  I was able to make contacts with classmates from across the state that I’ve learned a tremendous amount from over the course of 6 months.  They are all a valuable resource to have as we move into the future challenges of law enforcement.  Several other members of the Police Department have graduated from this course.  They include; Lieutenant Jill McDonnell, Sergeant Steve Groehn, and Sergeant Rick Leonard.  MSU School of Staff and Command now has over 100 graduates across the State of Michigan.

Throughout the course I was proud to describe the things we do here in Auburn Hills.  It was clear to see that our department is forward thinking and embraces change.  The services we provide to the community are what make Auburn Hills a great place to live, work, learn, and play.