Mt. Pleasant Youth Police Academy Graduates 21st Class

Cadets from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department’s 21st Youth Police Academy recently celebrated their graduation with their law enforcement mentors, family and friends. Those in attendance enjoyed comments from academy leader Officer Josh Theisen, and retired educator and coach Denny LaFleur who served as keynote speaker.

For the past three weeks these sixth through eighth grade cadets learned what it takes to become a law enforcement official; integrity, trust, leadership, compassion, and the ability to quickly assess a situation. All of this is in addition to the rigorous physical requirements of the job. By completing a series of hands-on training sessions and classroom instruction, cadets realized how much knowledge and fitness a police officer must possess to perform their job.

Cadet Andrew Moutsatson, Mt. Pleasant Middle School 6th grader shared, “During the academy I learned to believe in myself and push through challenging tasks. I was surprised at the many responsibilities a police officer has, and all of the paperwork they have to complete. It was very nice of the police officers to take time to teach us,” he continued. “They were all very kind, caring and helpful. I know Officer Theisen will be there to help me with many things when I am in the middle school.”

Mt. Pleasant Middle School 8th grader Chloe Churchman graduated from the academy last year and returned this year as a cadet instructor. She originally learned about the academy through her school. “The Youth Police Academy made me a better person due to its discipline and challenges it provided,” Chloe stated. “The police officers teaching the academy are real people and they are very kind, considerate and caring. Besides learning so much about law enforcement, it was wonderful to get to know the officers personally, and know they are here to help us in so many ways.”

The Youth Police Academy is a free program which offers sixth to eighth grade youth an up-close view of the skills and necessary training needed for law enforcement officials. Applications for this summer program are distributed through the schools in May and also available at the Division of Public Safety, 804 E. High Street, Mt. Pleasant.

Gratitude is extended to the Central Michigan University Police Department, Isabella County Sheriff Department, Michigan State Police, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Department, Saginaw Police Department, DNR, MMR, Mt. Pleasant Fire Department, and Isabella County Central Dispatch who also shared their expertise with the cadets throughout this program.

Accepting Applications for 21st Youth Services Police Academy

The 21st Youth Services Police Academy is scheduled for July 11 – 28, 2022, (Monday – Thursday) from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This free program offers youth, going into grades 6-8 who have an interest in law enforcement, an up-close view of the skills and necessary training needed for law enforcement officials.

Mt. Pleasant Police Officers conduct the program in the manner of a real police academy with values such as teamwork, integrity, compassion and discipline being stressed. Cadets are required to participate in physical training and complete the same agility tests given to recruits during a standard police academy.

In addition to physical training, the daily curriculum includes: hands-on learning, field trips and demonstrations by specialized units such as the SWAT Team, K-9 and DNR. Classroom topics encompass crime scene investigations, traffic stops, marine patrol activities, defensive driving techniques, firearms safety, first aid and CPR, and much more.

Applications are now available at the Division of Public Safety, 804 E. High Street, during 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The application deadline is June 10, 2022.

Mt. Pleasant Police Department Retirements and Promotions

The Mt. Pleasant Police Department is pleased to announce the latest retirement and promotion news.

Sergeant Shawn Paull will be retiring on December 28, after more than 27 years of service to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department (MPPD). Shawn began his career as an Officer in 1994, and was promoted to Sergeant in 1999. During his time with the MPPD, Shawn was a member of the Emergency Services Team, a leader of the Honor Guard, oversaw all maintenance for the Bike Patrol Unit, and was in the Youth Services Unit.

Shawn shared he will miss the comradery with his fellow officers, as well as the sense of purpose and personal pride that comes from serving the community.

Officer Justin Nau has been promoted to Sergeant and will assume his new duties on December 26. Justin possesses more than 13 years of law enforcement experience with 9 of those years with the MPPD. During his MPPD tenure, Justin has served as a Defensive Tactics Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Youth Services Unit Officer, Field Training Officer, and was a team leader on the Emergency Services Team.

Officer Joshua Theisen has been named Youth Services Unit Officer. This sole position has many responsibilities which include serving as the liaison between the Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, business community, private organizations, law enforcement agencies, juvenile and adult courts, PEAK and Central Michigan University. In addition, this position takes a proactive approach to reducing and preventing crime by being involved with the community’s youth at a young age, and serving as a role model and providing guidance and support when needed. When school is not in session, the YSU Officer manages summer programs, such as the Youth Police Academy, and is on bike patrol.

Joshua joined the MPPD in 2015 and has worked road patrol. He is also a Motor Officer and is a member of the Emergency Services Team.

Lieutenant Sytsema Retires After 26 Years; Sergeant Bliss Promoted

Lieutenant Don Sytsema will be retiring on October 8, after more than 26 years of service to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department (MPPD). Don began his career as an Officer, advanced to Detective in 2012, and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2017.

Lieutenant Don Sytsema

During his tenure, Don served as the Youth Services Unit officer, field training officer, evidence technician and forensic interviewer where he would interview children who were victims of physical abuse and sexual assault. Don also supervised the field training unit, road patrol, detective bureau and public information function.

Reflecting on his career with the MPPD, Don observed, “My fondest memory is not an isolated incident, time or place. Rather, it is more than 26 years of working together as a team and accomplishing a shared vision, goal and mission. That is what resonates with me most.”

Sergeant Brandon Bliss has been promoted to Lieutenant and will assume his new duties upon Don Sytsema’s retirement in early October.

Sergeant Brandon Bliss

Brandon possesses more than 16 years of law enforcement experience, with 13 of these years with the MPPD. During his time with the MPPD, Brandon has served as Youth Services Unit Officer, team leader for the Emergency Services Team, lead Sergeant for the Field Training Program and held union leadership roles with the Police Officers Association of Michigan and the Command Officers Association of Michigan.

Brandon obtained a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saginaw Valley State University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. Throughout his career he has also completed Michigan State University’s First Line Supervision Program as well as attending various other supervisory and leadership schools.