Thirty-one potential new conservation officers will report on Jan. 12 in Lansing to attend the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) conservation officer training academy. This is the first conservation officer training academy since 2007, and it will be led by the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division training section.
The academy is funded in the DNR budget through a General Fund appropriation approved by the Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder.
The 31 recruits will complete a 22-week training academy that includes 14 weeks of basic police training and eight weeks of more specialized conservation officer training. Six of the recruits are military veterans, nine are previous law enforcement officers, and two were conservation officers in other states.
DNR conservation officers serve a distinct role in Michigan’s law enforcement community. They are certified police officers with the authority to enforce Michigan’s criminal laws. As conservation officers, they also have unique training in a wide variety of other areas related to the protection of Michigan’s citizens and natural resources.
Increased funding for more conservation officers was a priority for the DNR in 2014. Currently, there are numerous areas in the state that do not have an adequate number of officers, said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division.
“Increasing the number of conservation officers means we can make more contact in the field with our customers, providing public education opportunities and creating a safer environment for residents and visitors enjoying Michigan’s great outdoors,” said Hagler. “It also means we can provide an increased law enforcement and protection presence across the state, including rural areas that sometimes have limited law enforcement resources.”
Recruitment for the next class of conservation officers is ongoing, said Lt. Creig Grey, training supervisor for the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. The DNR plans to start the next academy in October 2014.
“Men and women interested in a career as a conservation officer and who want to be eligible for the next class should get to work now taking the Michigan Civil Service exam and completing the online job application,” Grey said. “To be eligible for the next academy, candidates should have their exam and application completed by late spring.”
Grey said two areas of the state – the northern Lower Peninsula and the eastern Upper Peninsula – did not produce many candidates for the current recruit class, and DNR officials would like to see more candidates from those regions in future academies.
For more information on conservation officers, go to www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.
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