Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Newest Wildlife Officers Ready to Serve Ohioans

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Eleven state wildlife officers from the 31st Wildlife Officer Pre-Service Training Academy were sworn in during a graduation ceremony on Friday, March 17, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The 11 officers were hired from a pool of nearly 800 applicants and completed seven months of conservation and law enforcement training.

“I am excited to welcome this new group into our Division of Wildlife,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “Each one has a passion for conservation, a commitment to law enforcement, and a dedication to public service - all qualities that will better serve Ohio sportsmen and everyone in our state.”

The new wildlife officers completed 21 weeks of Ohio Peace Officer Basic Training with an additional 10 weeks of specialized training from the Division of Wildlife. Training included law enforcement procedures as well as wildlife and fisheries management, communications skills, ATV and vehicle operations, and advanced firearms and self-defense topics.

“Wildlife officers are a valuable asset to Ohioans and our natural resources,” Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said. “These wildlife officers will enforce hunting and fishing regulations, connect with outdoor enthusiasts, serve wildlife, and much more. I look forward to seeing how these officers make a positive impact in their communities and across the state.”

The newest state wildlife officers, their hometowns, and their assignments are:

  • Corey R. Burroughs, of Canal Fulton, assigned to Holmes County
  • Micah T. Collier, of Jackson, Mo., assigned to Brown County
  • Taylor N. Combs, of Mount Vernon, assigned to Guernsey County
  • Andrew S. Dowdell, of North Ridgeville, assigned to Butler County
  • Tyler S. Fields, of Pomeroy, assigned to Scioto County
  • Scot D. Gardner, of Malta, assigned to Washington County
  • Isaiah T. Gifford, of Zanesville, assigned to Clinton County
  • Michael J. Greer, of Bainbridge Township, assigned at-large in northeast Ohio
  • Nicholas J. Oliver, of Delaware, assigned to Champaign County
  • Caitlin N. Perry, of Athens, assigned to Noble County
  • Mark T. Williams, Jr., of Vermilion, assigned to Ashtabula County

Ohio wildlife officers have statewide authority to enforce wildlife regulations and protect state lands, waterways, and property. As state law enforcement officers, they contribute to public safety in their local areas and Ohio’s great outdoors. They also speak to hundreds of clubs and groups about conservation and wildlife programs, perform fish and wildlife conservation duties, and provide technical advice and instruction about wildlife management issues, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor related recreation.

For information on the Division of Wildlife and its programs visit wildohio.gov. To learn more about Ohio wildlife officers, go to ohiodnr.gov/careers and see the Becoming an Ohio Wildlife Officer icon.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.