37 new DNR conservation officers graduate

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Thirty-seven recruits successfully completed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer training academy and graduated today, June 5. Ceremonies, involving the recruits’ families and training academy staff, were held at the training academy in Lansing.

The 37 new officers now enter 18 weeks of field training partnered with more experienced conservation officers in the counties in which they’ll be assigned. Those assignments will be handed out in the next several weeks.

“These new officers will fill critical vacancies for natural resources protection and general law enforcement coverage throughout Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “Ensuring safe, enjoyable recreation experiences for our residents and visitors and providing enhanced public safety in our communities are among the DNR’s top priorities.”  

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.  

“It’s important to have conservation officers in counties throughout the state,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “In addition to their conservation and law enforcement duties, conservation officers deliver critical services to the citizens of this state, providing search and rescue, ice rescue and other lifesaving operations.”

The new officers are: 
Chad Baldwin
Jill Berry
Tyler Cole
Ethan Gainforth
Raymond Gardner
Jacob Griffin
Michael Haas
Brandon Hartleben
Patrick Hartsig
William Haskin
Joshua Jackson
Jason King
William Kinney
Shannon Kritz
Adam LeClerc
Christopher Lynch
Christopher Maher
Ethen Mapes
James McAteer IV
Hugh McMath
Andrew Monnich
Justin Muehlhauser
Craig Neal
Matthew Neterer
Casey Pullum
Daniel Robinson
Sam Schluckbier
Mark Siemen
Bradley Silorey
Robert Slick
Calvin Smith
Isaac Tyson
Benjamin Weber
Joshua Wright
James Zellinger
Mark Zitnik
Matthew Zultak
The recruits completed 22 weeks of training at the academy, including 14 weeks of required general law enforcement training and eight weeks of specialized conservation officer training. Current, experienced conservation officers served as instructors for the training academy.

The academy is funded in the DNR budget through a General Fund appropriation providing 25 new positions approved by the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder and nine new positions funded by hunting and fishing license revenue. The remaining positions are previously funded positions that replace officers who have recently retired or left the division.

For more information on Michigan conservation officers, including how to apply for a future training academy, go to www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers

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