Since early April 10 conservation officer candidates have taken part in the 14-week training program offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Academy on Camp Ripley.
The candidates of class 17 are wrapping up the final iterations of countless training scenarios as they make their way to becoming Enforcement Officers within the State of Minnesota.
“From administrative tasks to weapons handling, wildlife conservation and enforcement, we ensure these candidates are ready to leave here as well rounded, educated conservation officers,” said Assistant Training Coordinator Aaron Kahre.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, as well as other state agencies, have utilized the facilities of Camp Ripley since the early 1950s for the training and professional development of their officers. This is the 17th class of candidates since academy training began at Camp Ripley in 1994.
Like the Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard, the DNR applies the support and resources provided on Camp Ripley and applies ‘real-world’ scenarios to the training program in a variety of simulated situation and venues.
“We cover a lot of ground on Camp Ripley,” added Kehre. “We train on watercraft, ATVs and other vehicles, all of which are accommodated by the resources offered by the National Guard on Camp Ripley.”
The Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division employs over 200 licensed peace officers to serve the public and protect the natural resources of the State of Minnesota. They are the primary law enforcement agency responsible for the natural resources and recreational regulations within the State of Minnesota.
“Through our training programs we offer safety and wildlife conservation enforcement classes to not only local departments but out-of-state enforcement agencies as well,” said Lt. Mike Martin, Training Coordinator Supervisor for the DNR Enforcement Academy.
“Our safety courses are arranged across a number of areas on Camp Ripley including the smaller lakes, wetlands, wooded trail, etc.,” continued Martin.
The diverse training offered at the Academy prepares the candidates for the several different type of environments they may encounter in Minnesota. Each of the 10 officers, preparing to graduate later this week, come from different parts of the state and will be posted in several locations from International Falls to Worthington.
The cadets graduated Tuesday at the Hangar Conference Center on Camp Ripley. After graduation, the new officers will spend 16 weeks of field training along with veteran conservation officers who will tutor them through several variations of training.