DNR recruiting for 2020 conservation officer academy

Contact: F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, 517-284-5996
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 19, 2019

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Anyone interested in pursuing a career as a Michigan conservation officer is encouraged to review eligibility guidelines and submit an application for the Department of Natural Resources’ 10th conservation officer academy, set to start July 12, 2020, at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Dimondale.

"We are seeking male and female candidates from all backgrounds – including military veterans and current law enforcement members – who are passionate about the outdoors and interested in protecting the state’s natural resources and the people who enjoy them,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund. “This academy will teach the recruits the necessary skills they need in order to be successful as conservation officers."

Jackie Miskovich was one of six women to successfully complete the DNR’s 2018 conservation officer academy, graduating last December.

"Completing the Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Academy was extremely rewarding. It was by far the toughest task I have ever gone through," said Miskovich, who now patrols Muskegon County. "I accomplished things physically and mentally that I did not know I could do. It has all been worth it to become a CO."

Conservation Officer Cole VanOosten, who now patrols Luce County, also graduated from Recruit School #9 in December.

"Looking back, the academy is one of the best things I have ever gone through and it helped me mature in many aspects of my life," VanOosten said. "It was not easy, but it transformed me into a better person, as well as a more equipped conservation officer. You receive world-class training and the instructors truly care about making you into the best officer you can be."

DNR conservation officers serve a distinct role in Michigan’s law enforcement community. They are certified police officers with the authority to enforce all Michigan laws. Conservation officers receive unique training in a wide variety of areas related to the protection of Michigan’s residents and natural resources. This includes extensive training in game, fish and trapping enforcement, recreational safety, firearms, precision and off-road driving, survival tactics and first aid.

In order to be considered for the academy, an applicant must:

  • Be able to lawfully possess a firearm in Michigan.
  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Be at least 21 years of age before academy graduation.
  • Be a Michigan resident before completion of the Probationary Training Program.
  • Have a valid driver's license and a satisfactory driving record.
  • Submit to a thorough background investigation.
  • Have proof of completing the MCOLES physical fitness test.

During the 23-week academy, recruits will become State of Michigan employees and receive biweekly paychecks. Upon graduation, they will spend an additional 20 weeks training throughout the state. When that training is completed, each officer will receive a county assignment where they will live and work.

Learn more about the conservation officer hiring process and requirements by visiting Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers or contacting a local recruiter.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.

The State of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, disability or other factors prohibited by law.

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Video: Do you have what it takes to be a Michigan conservation officer? This brief video shows glimpses of the training that DNR officers receive.