The Wadena area once again has a conservation officer assigned, covering most of Wadena County, and portions of Otter Tail, Cass and Todd counties.
His name is officer Jordan Anderson and he’s no stranger to the area. Anderson is a Menahga graduate and previously worked in the Hubbard County Jail and as an Otter Tail County Sheriff’s deputy, with over eight years in law enforcement. Having no plans of leaving the area, Anderson said he wanted the Wadena area assignment and is pleased to be there.
Anderson said the switch to conservation officer is actually not a major change, in that he still finds himself doing much of the typical work of law enforcement, while enjoying the “call of the wild,” so to speak.
“I can go from walking a snowmobile trail or a trap line to assisting in normal police activities,” Anderson said.
Anderson was one of 13 new officers to find assignments in communities that had previous vacancies. After training from May to September at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley, they spent the past several months working throughout the state with experienced officers. Anderson said that included training with Chris Vinton in Perham, Troy Richards in Fergus Falls, as well as a month in Mankato. He said the training was meant to expose him to various parts of the state.
The new officers assumed their initial stations Dec. 25. Before Anderson was stationed here, the Wadena station had been vacant since August 2017. The previous officer stationed for this area was Greg Oldakowski.
By way of background, the Conservation Officer Academy lasts about four months and is held at Camp Ripley.
“During their time at the Academy, our new officers receive training in all aspects of being a conservation officer,” Joe Albert, enforcement division communications coordinator wrote in an email. “They learn about things such as education/outreach, fish and wildlife laws, patrol procedures and environmental enforcement. They’re tested each week put through practical scenarios that reflect what they’ll encounter in the field.”
There are 155 field stations across the state, each covering about 650 square miles. With the newest class of conservation officers now stationed, there remain 17 field stations without full-time, dedicated coverage. The DNR plans to hold another Academy in the spring of 2020.
Anderson enjoys hunting and fishing but understands he won’t be able to enjoy the openers quite the same as he once did knowing those are some of his busiest days.
Expect to see Anderson out and about ensuring the laws of the land are being followed. If you need to contact a conservation officer, the best way is to contact the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367. Or call the Turn in Poachers hotline at 800-652-9093.