WILLMAR -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that the 2007 class of conservation officers have now taken up posts at stations across the state. The officers were officially stationed on Aug. 22 after graduating in May from the 12-week-long DNR Conservation Officer Academy and completing field training over the summer.
Among those completing the academy and field training was Conservation Officer Jeff Denz, the new officer in the Willmar #2 Station. He joins Conservation Officer Jim Steffen, also stationed in Willmar. Conservation Officer Denz worked five years at Three Rivers Park before joining the DNR.
The DNR graduated 18 officers from the 2007 academy at Camp Ripley, which trains officers on all aspects of law enforcement work in the natural resources field. Training sessions at the academy included confiscations and forfeitures; warrants and exceptions; emergency vehicle operation; self-defense; watercraft laws; recreational vehicle safety and regulations; game identification and enforcement; hazardous materials; crime scene management; and evidence collection.
During the 12-week field training over the summer, officer trainees worked one-on-one with experienced conservation officers to gain on-the-job training for natural resources management and law enforcement-related activities. Now that they are stationed, each new officer is responsible for enforcing Minnesota's natural resource-related laws in an area encompassing approximately 600 square miles.