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DNR officers get Wildlife Officer of the Year, Lifesaving honors

Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were recognized with awards at Thursday’s Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting at the Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing.

Dan Robinson named Shikar-Safari’s Michigan Wildlife Officer of the Year

Contact: Lt. Jeremy Payne, 989-297-2941

Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Dan Robinson was recognized as the 2022 Shikar Safari Michigan Wildlife Officer of the Year. The award, the highest state honor for conservation officers, is given annually.

“Dan Robinson is a dedicated, hardworking role model to others within the DNR and his community,” said Chief Jason Haines, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Dan is a natural ‘above and beyond’ person who is impactful in his patrols, investigations, training, mentoring, vision and overall leadership. He is very knowledgeable about the law and understands the weight of our mission to protect Michigan’s natural resources.”

Robinson has been a CO since 2015 and is assigned to Isabella County. In 2022, his district peers from a nine-county area voted him as the District Officer of the Year. He was also the Michigan Boating Officer of the Year in 2019 and 2020.

In addition to his daily responsibilities to educate and enforce natural resource laws, Robinson’s other job duties include:

  • Field training officer.
  • Background investigator.
  • First aid instructor, including being selected as a lead instructor in 2022.
  • Training academy and water safety instructor.
  • Survival tactics instructor.
  • National Association of State Boating Law Administrators credentialed instructor.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration certified instructor.
  • Certified in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement.

Robinson has dedicated his entire career to the Isabella County area and maintains professional relationships with the public, law enforcement and prosecutor’s office. As a community mentor, he participates in the Mount Pleasant Youth Academy, Project Rural Education Day, Rock Lake Christian Academy and the Expedition Hunting and Angling Scholars: Conservation Officer Pathway through Mid-Michigan Community College.

In his spare time, Robinson is a jiu jitsu practitioner.

Conservation officer honored for actions that helped save Ottawa County man

Contact: Sgt. Cary Foster,

Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Steve Orange was presented with a DNR Lifesaving Award for his response to an incident last spring in which he helped direct swift assistance to a person having a medical emergency.

In May, Orange, was speaking on the phone to Rich Dawkins, a volunteer hunter safety education instructor. Orange noticed Dawkins having increasing difficulty when trying to speak, unable to communicate his birthdate or form clear words.

Orange, who was in Kent County, told Dawkins he would hang up and call 911 to have emergency responders in Ottawa County, where Dawkins was located, go to his residence for a medical check.

At that time, Dawkins knew something was wrong and went outside to wait on his front deck. An Ottawa County 911 operator texted Dawkins, asking if he needed help.

Within minutes, an ambulance and law enforcement officer from Grand Haven Public Safety arrived. The emergency responders immediately assessed that Dawkins was having a stroke and transported him to the hospital.

Dawkins wrote to the DNR, saying he remembered hearing paramedics radio to the hospital that they were on their way with a stroke victim and to have a doctor immediately available.

Within 45 minutes of the onset of symptoms, Dawkins received the appropriate medical care for a stroke. Within 2 1/2 to 4 hours of his symptoms beginning, Dawkins was able to speak.

“During that time at the hospital, I was very shocked and surprised to see Cpl. Orange walk into the room to check on my well-being to make sure I was OK,” Dawkins wrote. “Cpl. Orange said, ‘That was the only thing on my mind, are you OK!’ Without the quick thinking and action of Cpl. Orange, it could have been a very bad day to be me.”

Within weeks, Dawkins fully recovered from the stroke.

“Cpl. Orange’s training kicked in and he was able to identify by sound that there was an immediate medical emergency,” said Chief Jason Haines, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “He knew the appropriate steps to connect with local emergency responders to ensure Mr. Dawkins received quick help and showed true dedication and concern by driving to the hospital to check on Dawkins. The DNR is very grateful to have both of you here today. Thank you for all you do to educate the next generation of hunters.”

Dawkins has been a volunteer hunter safety education instructor since 2014. Orange has been a CO since 2004 and coordinates volunteer hunter safety education instructors and programs.

Michigan conservation officers are fully licensed law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Robinson: Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Dan Robinson, who patrols Isabella County, was recognized as the 2022 Shikar Safari Michigan Wildlife Officer of the Year, the highest state honor for conservation officers, given annually. Pictured L to R: DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Jason Haines, Sgt. Jason Smith, CO Dan Robinson, Greg Murtland, Shikar Safari Club International, Lt. Jeremy Payne, Sgt. Chad Foerster.

Orange: Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Steve Orange was presented with a DNR Lifesaving Award for his response to an incident in May, in which Orange noticed the hunter safety education instructor he was on the phone with was having a medical emergency. Pictured L to R: Cpl. Steve Orange, Rich Dawkins, volunteer hunter safety education safety instructor.