14 New CPOs Approved for Department of Natural Resources (ADDING PHOTOS)

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Published on December 5 2012 7:33 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The newest members of the Illinois Conservation Police participated in a graduation ceremony in their honor Wednesday at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The 14 recruits completed 24 weeks of intense general law enforcement training and specific conservation police training totaling nearly 1,000 hours to prepare them for their new jobs.

The 14 officers form just the ninth Conservation Police officer (CPO) class in the last 19 years, the first class of new CPOs since 2007, and the first class to be made up entirely of military veterans.

(NEW C-P-O MATTHEW VIVERITO OF EFFINGHAM)

“We are thrilled to have these young men and women as a part of the Illinois DNR. Conservation Police are not just vital to protecting our wildlife and other natural resources, but also to protecting and serving the public in ways far beyond outdoor recreation safety and enforcement,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

Conservation Police officer recruits are first required to attend the Illinois State Police (ISP) Academy for basic law enforcement training and certification. The ISP Academy lasts for 12 weeks and includes 480 hours of classroom instruction, practical training and scenario training. The training covers everything from Illinois Vehicle and Criminal codes to domestic violence and drug enforcement.

(NEW C-P-O LISA SCHOENHOFF OF EFFINGHAM)

Upon successful completion of the ISP Academy, recruits enter the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police (CPO) Academy. The CPO Academy is also 12 weeks in length with 480 hours of course work.

During the CPO Academy, recruits receive classroom instruction, field practical instruction, and scenario-specific training to develop skills of a Conservation Police officer that no other training can provide. The areas covered include the Wildlife Code, Fish and Aquatic Life Code, Boat Registration and Safety Act, Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act, Timber Enforcement, Endangered and Threatened Species, Migratory Waterfowl Act, defensive tactics training, firearms training, boat operation and handling, ATV operation and handling, and vehicle maintenance and operation with trailers.

Illinois Conservation Police officers protect Illinois citizens and visitors in state parks, on state waterways and on the highways and back roads of Illinois. They enforce game and fish laws, boat safety, timber regulations, and drug and traffic laws. CPO’s assist outdoor recreation enthusiasts to enjoy their time outdoors safely and they are first responders in times of floods, tornadoes, blizzards, and other natural and man-made disasters.

Those sworn in as Conservation Police Officers today include area residents Zachary French of St. Peter as well as Lisa Schoenhoff and Mathew Viverito of Effingham.

This new recruit class brings the total number of Conservation Police officers to 132. During its peak in the late 1970’s, Illinois Conservation Police had as many as 189 officers on staff.