DNR to hire candidates for 2022 conservation officer academy

Posted at 3:14 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 15:14:06-05

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for candidates for conservation officer recruits and probationary conservation officers for its 2022 academy.

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. In many cases, they are first responders during natural disasters and life-threatening situations.

In-service training programs are 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.

“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 would be eligible for enrollment in MCOLES basic training academy. After completion, recruits receive training to natural resource laws and regulations, marine, off-road vehicle and snowmobile operation.

Candidates must be 21 before an MCOLES license can be activiated.

You do not need previous law enforcement experience, fishing or hunting experience or a college education in order to be 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 become State of Michigan employees and receive biweekly paychecks as well as collect benefits and retirement.

You can learn more about the hiring process and requirements by visiting