Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) Scott Staples, Carlton, a K-9 officer, was named 2014 Conservation Officer of the Year during a ceremony April 16 at Camp Ripley near Little Falls.
“He trains officers from other agencies, helps educate court and county attorney staff and above all educates the public in what we do, how we do it and why it is important,” said Enforcement Director Col. Ken Soring, who presented the award.
Staples has been described as a reliable “field leader” by both his supervisors and field officers who takes pride in his work and brings good common sense and roadside manners when dealing with the public.
Over his 17-year career as a conservation officer he has been involved as a use of force instructor, academy instructor and a field training officer. He is also an experienced investigator and K-9 handler.
“It’s really easy to keep working and having fun at your job when you have great people to work with, a supportive family, and a nice furry partner riding with you all the time,” Staples said.
Other top officers were also honored: Pat McGowan, Hastings, 2014 Boat and Water Officer of the Year; CO Jeff Denz, Willmar, 2014 Waterfowl Enforcement Achievement Award; 1st Lt. Jackie Glaser, District 13 supervisor, 2014 Willard Munger Wetland Achievement Award; and CO Scott Fritz of La Crescent, 2014 Enforcement Education Achievement Award.
Division of Enforcement Lifesaving Award recipients include CO’s Bret Grundmeier, Hinckley; Tony Musatov, Sauk Rapids; Rick Reller, Buffalo; Todd Langevin, Center City; Jason Beckmann, Windom and Brandon McGaw, Mora.
Lt. Col Rodmen Smith, DNR Enforcement assistant director, received the DNR’s Meritorious Service Award for his work on producing the Enforcement Division’s record management system. Other recent awards include CO Phil George, Rochester, Turn In Poachers Officer of the Year Award and CO Paul Kuske, Pierz, Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the YearAward.
The awards recognize conservation officers with superior work records or those who perform meritorious acts or services, which contribute to the protection and preservation of Minnesota’s natural resources and the people that enjoy them.
Soring praised all of the officers, “These prestigious awards are not given out, but earned through dedication, perseverance and hard work.”