Conservation Officer Academy XII Begins

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Academy XII is underway at Camp Ripley, with 10 Conservation Officer Candidates (COCs) participating in the initial 12-week training program about state natural resource laws and how to enforce them.

“As a conservation officer, you enforce fish and game laws to ensure that hunters and anglers abide by the restrictions of the season and their limits, have proper licenses and use the proper equipment,” said Capt. Mark Johanson, DNR interim enforcement director. “You investigate complaints, cite violators, prepare briefs and present evidence in court. Some investigations are done in a day, others require detective work and modern technology.”

The recruits will learn everything from using a laptop computer to collecting evidence to citing and interviewing suspects. The idea is to allow each candidate to become familiar with the variety of challenges confronting conservation officers who protect the state’s natural resources. Upon successful completion of the academy, they will spend 16 additional weeks learning from, and being evaluated by, veteran conservation officers before starting their first assignment.

“The training will be both physically and mentally challenging to ensure they’re prepared for the normal activities encountered by our nearly 200 current conservation officers,” Johanson added.