CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. (AP) — Nine candidates begin training at Camp Ripley on Wednesday to become Minnesota conservation officers.
The Department of Natural Resources says it’s the state’s first Conservation Officer Academy since 2008. And it comes at a time when 20 of the DNR’s 155 conservation officer field stations are vacant. Most of the nine are sheriff’s deputies or police officers in Minnesota, or conservation officers elsewhere.
The curriculum includes 12 weeks of training in fish and wildlife laws, rules of evidence, patrol procedures, search and rescue, and fish and wildlife investigation. Graduates spend 16 weeks in field training with a veteran conservation officer before being assigned their first station.
The DNR says a typical work station covers 650 square miles, so conservation officers usually work alone and cover extensive and often remote areas.
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