LANSING (Great Lakes News) – The DNR has a unique opportunity for those looking to mix their love of nature and a passion for law enforcement.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources officially opened the application process for those hoping to become conservation officers. The 10th conservation officer academy is set to start on July 12, 2020. The DNR is hoping that qualified candidates from all walks of life will apply for the program.

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“We are seeking male and female candidates from all backgrounds – including military veterans and current law enforcement members – who are passionate about the outdoors and interested in protecting the state’s natural resources and the people who enjoy them,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund. “This academy will teach the recruits the necessary skills they need in order to be successful as conservation officers.”

DNR conservation officers are considered certified police officers and have the authority to enforce all Michigan laws. In addition, conservation officers receive unique training that prepares them to protect Michigan citizens and natural resources. This training includes game, fish and trapping enforcement, recreational safety, firearms, precision and off-road driving, survival tactics and first aid. The academy prepares conservation officers through a rigorous training regiment.

“Completing the Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Academy was extremely rewarding. It was by far the toughest task I have ever gone through,” said Officer Jackie Mickovich, who graduated from officer academy last December. “I accomplished things physically and mentally that I did not know I could do. It has all been worth it to become a CO.”

The academy lasts 23 weeks and is followed by an additional 20 weeks of training through the state. Upon completing the training, each candidate is given a county assignment where they will serve Michiganders.

“Looking back, the academy is one of the best things I have ever gone through and it helped me mature in many aspects of my life,” said Officer Cole VanOosten. “It was not easy, but it transformed me into a better person, as well as a more equipped conservation officer.”

To be considered for the academy, applicants must be able to lawfully possess a firearm in Michigan, be a United States citizen, be at least 21 years of age, be a Michigan resident, have a valid driver’s license, submit a background investigation, and have proof of completing the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards physical fitness test. The process also includes several interviews and medical evaluations to ensure the mental and physical health of the candidate.

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Michigan Conservation Officers make roughly $65,000 a year and have access to all benefits entitled to state employees. For more information about the hiring process requirements visit the web portal at or contact a recruiter.