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DNR hiring for accelerated conservation officer training

To help fill vacancies for essential conservation officer roles in 14 counties, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hiring licensed law enforcement officers for an accelerated conservation officer training program.  

“The accelerated hiring process will allow licensed officers who have received general criminal training to bypass the traditional Conservation Officer Recruit School Academy and immediately begin their natural resources law enforcement training,” said Capt. Jen Wolf, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “This helps us bring in skilled, motivated officers with diverse law enforcement experience to quickly fill existing vacancies.”

Counties with vacancies include: Baraga, Cass, Chippewa, Eaton, Huron, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Mackinac, Midland, Ontonagon, Oscoda, Shiawassee and Tuscola.

Qualified applicants must be at least 21 years of age and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Hold a current Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards license.
  • Be a graduating student from a law enforcement academy and eligible for immediate licensure upon employment.
  • Be a licensed law enforcement officer in another state and meet MCOLES requirements.

Interested? Apply by May 10. Successful candidates will meet DNR hiring requirements, including being a State of Michigan resident, by the time training ends.

Stationed in nearly every county of the state, DNR conservation officers are fully licensed law enforcement officers who enforce laws and regulations related to fish and wildlife, state parks, trails and forests, and outdoor recreation activities such as off-road vehicle use, snowmobiling and boating. They also often serve as first responders during natural disasters and life-threatening situations.

The application process includes the opportunity for candidates to give preference for which county they prefer to patrol.

Previous fishing and hunting experience and a college education are not required to become a conservation officer.

“This is a lifelong career, and we want to see applicants succeed,” Wolf said. “Our instructors are the best at what they do, and we will support each applicant to ensure they have what they need to be successful.”

Twelve conservation officers have completed the DNR’s accelerated training program since 2021.

“The DNR offers some of the best courses and in-house training,” said CO Alexander Bourgeois, who was hired in 2022 and previously worked for the Royal Oak Police Department. “I love the unique aspects of being a conservation officer – riding snowmobiles, ORVs and boats. I get to do my job and enjoy being outdoors at the same time. We have flexible schedules, too, so I can coordinate with my family’s schedule. We also work all of our cases start to finish, through good investigations and hard work, which is very rewarding.”

Training will include laws and rules specific to fish and game, species identification, and enforcement and safe operation of boats, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.

Successful candidates will be hired as probationary conservation officers and immediately receive a DNR patrol vehicle and firearms. These PCOs will be able to return home at the end of each day, with the exception of training at locations that require travel. The DNR will provide lodging accommodations for PCOs who meet travel status requirements. 

As State of Michigan employees, PCOs will receive biweekly paychecks and have the opportunity to earn health and retirement benefits.

The Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division is a veteran-friendly employer committed to protecting Michigan’s natural resources and the environment, and the health and safety of the public through effective law enforcement and education.

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

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Officers: The DNR is hiring current, or soon to graduate law enforcement officers to fill essential conservation officer roles in 14 counties. Interested candidates should apply by May 10 and are encouraged to contact a recruiter with any questions.