Nine conservation officer candidates will begin training Wednesday, March 28 as part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Conservation Officer Academy.
It's the first Conservation Officer Academy since 2008, and the 13th class since academy training began at Camp Ripley in 1994. Currently, 20 of DNR's 155 conservation officer field stations are vacant.
The academy curriculum includes 12 weeks training in fish and wildlife laws, rules of evidence, patrol procedures, search and rescue, and fish and wildlife investigation.
"This is a strong class of candidates who will be provided some of the best natural resources protection training in the nation," said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director. "I'm confident that, upon graduation, these officers will continue a conservation officer tradition of standing watch over our state's valuable natural resources."
Upon graduation, the new conservation officers spend 16 weeks in field training with a veteran conservation officer before being assigned their first station. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officer Training Board, the licensing agency for police officer training, has certified the classes.
Conservation officers ensure the future of natural resources opportunities through responsible enforcement of wildlife laws, regulations and rules. A typical work station covers 650 square miles, so conservation officers usually work alone and cover extensive and often remote areas.
Another academy is planned for this fall.
Academy 13 will include the following candidates:
Amber Anderson, deputy, Anoka County Sheriff's Department.
Scott Arntzen, police officer, Centennial Lake Police Department.
Jason Beckmann, police officer, Worthington Police Department.
Anthony Bermel, deputy, Olmsted County Sheriff's Department.
Napoleon Genereux, conservation officer, New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
Desiree Holmberg, community service officer, New Hope Police Department.
Mitchell Lawler, deputy, Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Department.
Jennifer Mueller, deputy, McLeod County Sheriff's Department.
Shaun Wichmann, conservation officer, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, & Parks.