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Twenty-four new conservation officers have joined the ranks of some of the most highly trained law enforcement professionals in Michigan.

One of the most selective law enforcement academies in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy held graduation today at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing. Thirty candidates initially were selected from nearly 500 applicants to be a part of Recruit School #9 – the DNR’s 23-week training academy.

“This is the hardest academy in the state of Michigan – not many people get selected and fewer make it through,” said Conservation Officer Timothy Barboza, a Recruit School #9 graduate.

The graduating six women and 18 men were challenged mentally and physically as they underwent training to qualify for the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards testing, in addition to specialized training in conservation law.

“Conservation officers have chosen to not only protect our people and local communities as first responders – they have devoted their career to being front-line defenders of our natural resources,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Our division selects the most highly qualified candidates to receive additional training that no other law enforcement agency in the state offers. Our officers are molded into quality people who are embedded within the communities they serve.”

“Conservation officers must be honest with their actions and with the public, passionate about helping Michigan’s natural resources and humble in their authority as an officer,” said Conservation Officer Anna Cullen, a Recruit School #9 graduate.

While their primary mission is to enforce fish, game and natural resource protection laws, conservation officers serve a unique role as certified peace officers with authority to enforce all of Michigan’s criminal laws. Because of their specialized training and versatility, conservation

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