Lapeer’s new trooper a hometown standout
However, that local knowledge won’t do him too much good his first week or two on the job. Fenslau and his training officer, Nathan Tucker, headed out for his first patrol Monday afternoon in St. Clair County.
The 23-year-old was one of 28 newly-minted troopers to receive their badges during graduation ceremonies Friday at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing.
“These men and women should be very proud of themselves today,” Gov. Rick Snyder told family and friends at the ceremony. “They have what it takes to join the elite ranks of the Michigan State Police. We wish our newest troopers safety each day. My hope is that they enjoy long and rewarding careers serving and protecting the residents of our great state.”
Growing up, Fenslau “had no plans to be a cop.” A standout football and baseball player at West, Fenslau enrolled at Mott Community College to study communications after graduating high school with a dream of one day becoming an ESPN sportscaster.
That dream faded as he realized that the odds of becoming a network sportscaster were about the same as becoming a pro ballplayer. “I figured I’d end up announcing high school games,” he said, explaining his decision to switch his major to criminal justice.
After doing a couple of ride-alongs with his cousin, Craig Cummings, a Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. deputy, “I realized what I wanted to do,” he said.
However, before enrolling in the 132nd Trooper Recruit School with 37 other would-be troopers at the end of August, he spent six years working in shipping and receiving — first at Lapeer Industries and later at Urgent Design.
Fenslau decided on the Michigan State Police after his cousin told him if he had it to do all over he’d go blue.
With no prior military experience, Fenslau said he was “surprised how hard (the academy) was.” But he said, his roommate, a fiveyear Marine who’s now posted to Metro South, helped a lot.
Fenslau said that while he might take a shot at joining MSP’s Emergency Support Team (the agency’s version of SWAT) sometime in the future, right now, “I’m focused on being the best trooper I can be.”
Fenslau’s grandfather, Robert McAley, watched him grow up next door to his Oregon Township home. “I never saw him without a fishing pole, gun, football or bat in his hand,” McAley said.
A friend of his, who’s an MSP detective in Alpena, told him, “It’s hard to get through the academy, but it’s harder to get in.” McAley said his friend told him MSP only takes the best of the best.
He recalled his grandson was a 1st Team All-Metro defensive back and a 2nd Team All-Metro running back when he was in high school. “He was the leading scorer his senior year,” McAley said.
He’s proud that his grandson was chosen to carry the state flag in the color guard during graduation ceremonies and thrilled Fenslau chose him to pin on his badge. “It really choked me up,” said McAley, a Vietnam combat Marine veteran.
Pinning on his grandson’s badge “was quite an honor for me,” said McAley.
Fenslau is happy he got assigned to Lapeer. “My whole family is here. I know the area.”
On June 3 Fenslau’s family will get a little bigger when he and fiancé Melanie Badour exchange wedding vows. “She’s very supportive,” he said.