For the first time since the early 1980s, Minnesota's 152-field DNR conservation officer stations are staffed.
DNR officials made the announcement when 18 conservation officers were sworn into duty after graduating from the 12-week Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley on May 1.
Col. Mike Hamm, DNR enforcement chief, noted that 131 officers have graduated from the academy since 1997. They have filled the ranks of officers hired in the 1970s and 1980s who have retired. He said reaching full staffing would not have been possible without the assistance of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, elected officials, outdoors stakeholder groups and individuals, the media and the people of Minnesota.
Conservation officers typically patrol an area of nearly 600 square miles and handle natural resources law enforcement, investigations, and education.
Although the enforcement division is at full complement, Hamm noted it will be so for only a short time since more retirements are expected in the coming year. Another academy is scheduled to begin in May of 2008 to meet the shortfall.
This year's new conservation officers and their assigned field stations include Aaron Kahre, Minnetonka; Brent Wiebusch, Spring Valley; Michael Martin, International Falls; Anthony Salzer, Ortonville; Daniel Thomasen, Two Harbors; Matthew Miller, Mora; Edward Picht, Madison; Troy Richards, Roseau; Brent Ihnen, Worthington; Brandon McGaw, unassigned at this time; Brian Dobbick, unassigned at this time; Paul Parthun, unassigned at this time; Jeffrey Denz, Montevideo; Gregory Salo, unassigned at this time; Shane Siltala, unassigned at this time; Troy TerMeer, Babbitt; Daniel McBroom, Silver Bay; Robert Gorecki, unassigned at this time.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.