News release: DNR Conservation Officer Academy kicks off

June 2, 2022

Nineteen people with a broad range of backgrounds are training as part of the 21st class of candidates to join the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as conservation officers.

The candidates began at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley May 31 and will continue there through the summer, learning about topics ranging from fish and wildlife laws and investigations to patrol procedures and rules of evidence. Upon graduation, they will field train for several months with experienced officers before being assigned their own station.

“Conservation officers are integral parts of their communities and play a vital role in protecting natural resources and public safety in Minnesota,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “I’m excited for this new class to begin serving the people of Minnesota, and I’m confident they’ll continue the DNR Enforcement Division’s proud tradition.”

Seven of this year’s attendees have a traditional law enforcement background while the others took part in CO PREP, which provides candidates law enforcement training prior to their academy enrollment, so that they’re eligible for Peace Officer Standards and Training certification.       

There are 155 conservation officer field stations in Minnesota. Currently, 35 of them are vacant.