DNR: With CO graduations, vacant field station numbers cut in half
Following 15 weeks of training at Camp Ripley, 18 cadets have graduated from the Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Academy and are set to begin patrolling the state’s fields, waters and woods, the DNR said in a news release.
The officers will spend the next several months working with experienced officers before assuming their assigned stations in December, the release said.
There currently are about 35 vacant conservation officer field stations in Minnesota, which means the number of field officers is similar now to what it was five decades ago. The number of vacant field stations will be more than halved when this year’s graduates begin in their stations.
According to the agency, over the years, DNR Enforcement has held 18 formal academies at which recruits are trained in all aspects of being a conservation officer. Experienced officers and other experts teach them on a wide variety of topics, including education/outreach, fish and wildlife laws, patrol procedures and environmental enforcement. Cadets are tested each week and put through practical scenarios that reflect what they’ll encounter in the field.
Each of the graduates was chosen from among hundreds of applicants and underwent rigorous examinations, psychological profiles and background checks before beginning at the Academy, the release said, add that, thanks to ongoing support from Gov. Mark Dayton and state legislators, the DNR plans to hold another Conservation Officer Academy in spring 2019.
“One of the reasons we have been successful and received support over the years is because of the direct ties and relationships conservation officers have with the communities we serve,” said Lt. Jeff Johanson, DNR Enforcement training coordinator supervisor. “We live in the areas we serve and become integral parts of the community.”