DNR conservation officers now are federally certified in responding to active shooter attacks, enhancing their abilities to protect Michigan citizens.
The DNR is one of the few agencies in Michigan to earn this certification. All 232 conservation officers completed the intensive, 16-hour training at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center. The program, certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, instructs officers on the latest tactics for responding to attacks on places like schools, places of worship and employment centers.
“Conservation officers are fully certified peace officers who may be called upon to respond to active shooting situations,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “All too often we see these incidents of terrorism play out on our televisions across America. These are real, dangerous situations, and the need for a rapid, coordinated response is imperative to stopping the threat as soon as possible.”
Hagler said the training gives officers the most relevant information and tactics that have proved successful in previous incidents. He said the decision to undergo training was made last year and is not a response to any recent threats.
"DNR conservation officers are assigned to every county in Michigan," Hagler said. "This type of training will allow us to interact more effectively with other agencies."
Cpl. Brad Dohm, the department’s lead firearms instructor, said the course addressed technical aspects of planning and implementing a rapid law enforcement deployment, highlighted by classroom presentations, hands-on, performance-based field training and scenario-based practical exercises.
Dohm and his team of instructors earned certification as active shooter response course trainers in 2017 by working with professionals from Louisiana State University’s renowned Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education. The instructors then rolled out the training to their conservation officer colleagues.
The entire 16-hour course also is being incorporated into the DNR Conservation Officer Recruit School curriculum.
For more on the federal training, contact Lt. Steve Burton at 517-284-5993. Learn more about Michigan conservation officers, including qualification requirements, training and responsibilities, at michigan.gov/conservationofficer.