Michigan DNR hiring for 2022 conservation officer academy

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting candidates for the positions of conservation officer recruits and probationary conservation officers.

Stationed in nearly every county of the state, these fully licensed law enforcement officers 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 are first responders during natural disasters and life-threatening situations.

An in-service training program is being offered to anyone who:

Currently holds a Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards license, or
Is eligible to immediately be licensed upon employment and meets the DNR’s hiring requirements.
“This probationary training program will allow eligible recruits to participate in a seven-week, in-service training program focusing on conservation officer-specific laws and functions,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Nine officers completed the 2021 in-service training program in August.

“Before becoming a conservation officer, I was a trooper with the Michigan State Police,” said Conservation Officer Alex Van Wagner, one of the August graduates. “I grew up seeing the local conservation officer in my hometown and I thought he had a cool job. I learned more about what conservation officers do and was interested in the fact that the job would take me out of a traditional work setting and allow me to experience so many different opportunities.”

All other applicants will be eligible for enrollment in an MCOLES basic training academy to meet the training standards. After successfully completing the MCOLES academy, recruits will receive specialized training specific to natural resource laws and regulations, and marine, off-road vehicle and snowmobile operation.

Candidates must be at least 21 years of age upon activation of an MCOLES license. You do not need to have previous law enforcement, fishing and hunting experience or a college education to become a conservation officer.

“Prior to the academy I worked as a teacher and in experiential education for 10 years, and then I worked with entrepreneurs to help start or grow their small businesses,” said Marc Mankowski, who graduated from the 2021 academy. “I wanted to become more involved protecting the natural resources that our state has to offer, as well as work closer with people who share the same passion for the outdoors.”

During the academy, recruits will become State of Michigan employees and receive biweekly paychecks while collecting benefits and retirement.

“Our instructors are the best at what they do,” Wicklund said. “We want to see applicants succeed and will provide recruits everything they need to be successful.”

The Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division is a veteran-friendly employer and is 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 Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers or contacting a local recruiter.