Within the next several weeks, 12 communities across the state will once again have full-time, dedicated service from a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer. In addition, a new CO will join the Enforcement Division’s Aviation Unit as a pilot.

The 13 conservation officers who will occupy these previously vacant stations have spent the past year training in all aspects of public safety and natural resources protection.

“Conservation officers are integral parts of Minnesota’s public safety fabric and work every day to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the resources we do today,” said Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “I’m confident our new officers will carry on the department’s proud tradition of serving our communities and protecting our state’s natural resources.”

The new COs were selected from among hundreds of applicants and spent May to August at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley. After initial training, where they learned all aspects of the job in classroom and scenario-based situations, they worked for 16 weeks in the field with experienced officers throughout the state.

There are 155 CO field stations across the state, each covering about 650 square miles. Once these new conservation officers are in their respective stations, 10 field stations in the state will be without full-time, dedicated coverage.

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Following is a list of the new officers and their stations:

Ryan Brown – Karlstad

Corey Sura – Baudette #2

Michael Cross – Lake George

Chelsey Bechel – Walker

Tou Vang – Pierz

Curtis Simonson – International Falls #2

Vincent Brown – Northome

Victoria Griffith – Isle

Stephen Westby – Madison

Zachary Larson – Hutchinson #2

Cassie Block – Willmar #2

Meng Moua – Spring Valley

Charles Scott – Aviation Unit pilot