DNR: 10 candidates train to join conservation officer rank

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Ten Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer candidates began training at the 14 week Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley on April 20.

“This is a strong class of candidates, with diverse backgrounds, who will receive some of the best conservation law enforcement training in the nation,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, DNR Enforcement Division director. “I’m confident that upon graduation, these men and women will continue in the conservation officer tradition of working with others to provide outreach, education and enforcement of our natural resource laws.”

The Conservation Officer Academy curriculum includes training in outreach and education, natural resource and recreational laws, rules of evidence, patrol procedures, search and rescue, and criminal investigation. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officer Training Board, the licensing agency for police officer training, has certified classes presented at the academy. After graduation, the new officers will spend 16 weeks in field training assigned to veteran conservation officers who tutor them with hands-on training.

This is the seventeenth class of candidates since academy training began at Camp Ripley in 1994. Conservation officers help ensure the future of natural resources opportunities for the people of Minnesota through outreach, education, and responsible enforcement of appropriate laws, regulations and rules.

Conservation officer career information is available at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/jobs/hiring.html.

Academy 17 candidates:

Alexander Birdsall is from Fort Bragg, NC, but originally from Burnsville. He was a member of the United States Army for the past five years. Birdsall will be stationed in Waconia.

Joseph Braun is from Detroit Lakes. He attended college at North Dakota State University and studied biological sciences. He worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in water quality compliance and enforcement; prior to that he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Nature Conservancy. Braun will be stationed in Thief River Falls station 2.

James Fogarty is from Belle Plaine. He worked as a deputy sheriff with the Carver County Sheriff’s Department prior to being hired for the DNR. Fogarty will be stationed in Benson.

Brittany Friday is from Duluth. She worked for Menards, Animal Allies Humane Society, and the DNR at Tettegouche State Park. Friday will be stationed in Princeton.

Kylan Hill is from Aitkin. He attended college at the University of Minnesota Morris and studied philosophy and political science. He worked for the Confidence Learning Center in Brainerd as a recreational activities leader, helping people with various cognitive and developmental disabilities enjoy nature. Hill will be stationed in Zumbrota.

Arnaud Kpachavi is from Fremont, Michigan. He spent the last four years attending Carleton College in Northfield. During that time he worked for the college in alumni relations and the YMCA as an equestrian instructor. Kpachavi will be stationed in Worthington.

Tim Maass is from Delano. He has 15 years of law enforcement experience at West Hennepin Public Safety prior to coming to the DNR’s Enforcement Division. Maass will be stationed in Bloomington.

Crystal Prestidge is from Burnsville. She has worked a variety of science, natural resource and food service jobs. Prestidge will be stationed in Eagan.

John Slatinski is from International Falls. He worked in the paper manufacturing industry and has five years of part-time law enforcement experience with the International Falls Police Department. Slatinski will be stationed in International Falls station 2.

Jacob Willis is from Duluth. He worked for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Police Department and the Duluth Police Department for more than 10 years combined. He holds a commercial pilot’s license. Willis will be stationed in Osseo.


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