DNR Conservation Officer Sarah Grell dies in the line of duty

May 24, 2021

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer has died in the line of duty following a two-vehicle crash Monday, May 24, near Grand Rapids.

Officer Sarah Grell, 39, was stationed in Grand Rapids and leaves behind a husband and three children. She served as a conservation officer since 2005 and had a deeply held dedication to serving Minnesota’s people and natural resources. She was part of a proud family legacy – her uncle, father and grandfather also worked as conservation officers. Her husband Gene works for DNR’s Forestry Division and her mother worked for DNR Fisheries until her retirement.

“The sense of loss we feel right now is indescribable,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “We are heartbroken for her family. Our deepest sympathies and concerns are with them. Officer Grell leaves behind an incredible legacy of service to Minnesota’s people and natural resources.”

“Officer Grell was the epitome of a public servant and served the Enforcement Division, the DNR, and the people of Minnesota with distinction,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, DNR Enforcement Division director. “Her loss is devastating, and we ask the people of Minnesota to keep Officer Grell and her family in their thoughts during this difficult time.”

Conservation officers have protected Minnesota’s natural resources and people since 1887. Officer Grell is the 23rd Minnesota conservation officer to die in the line of duty. Funeral arrangements are still being made.

The Minnesota State Patrol is leading the investigation of the crash. Questions about the investigation should be directed to that agency.


A high-resolution photo of Officer Grell is located in the DNR Media Room.