The DNR K9 unit has proved its effectiveness and value in search and rescue operations, handler/public protection, evidence recovery and game and fish detection. Currently there are two K9 officers with dogs in the DNR. The dogs and their handlers are trained to assist Conservation Officers and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state with:
- Tracking of persons
- Wildlife detection
- Evidence recovery
- Officer protection
- Criminal apprehension
The use of specially trained dogs increases the state’s abilities to detect wildlife violations, find trespassers and catch poachers. The K9 unit is primarily funded by donations.
Zebra Mussel Dogs
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has added three new K-9 officers to their law enforcement staff, all of which have been trained to sniff out zebra mussels that might be hiding on boats, trailers and other gear and equipment that recently has been in the water.
The dogs will assist all Conservation Officers in an attempt to slow the movement of aquatic invasive species from infested lakes and rivers into uninfested waters. It’s the first time dogs have been used in the battle against aquatic invasive species in Minnesota.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
The Water Resource Enforcement Officer (WREO) has the main duties of enforcing Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) regulations. WREOs help enforce and facilitate enforcement of AIS regulations with the use of roadside checkpoints and work crews. They also administer, regulate, and enforce the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) programs in specific geographic areas in Minnesota to ensure preservation, enhancement, and restoration of our water resources through enforcement, education, and communication. They serve Cease and Desist Orders and Restoration Orders for WCA violations.
Regional Training Officers
The Regional Training Officers (RTO) main duties are to implement the Firearm (FAS), Snowmobile (S/S), All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Trail Ambassador, Off Highway Motorcycle (OHM), Off Road vehicle (ORV), Advance Hunter Education (AHE) and the Minnesota Bowhunter Education (MBEP) safety training programs to the public. They background, certify and train volunteer instructors to administer these DNR Safety Programs. They are also Use of Force Instructors for the Division of Enforcement. They recommend, develop, and conduct Conservation Officer training pertaining to defensive tactics.
The Division of Enforcement has an Aviation Unit consisting of fixed wing and rotary aircrafts. These highly skilled pilots include Conservaton Officers and Natural Resource Pilots (non-licensed Peace Officers) who conduct flights for law enforcement purposes, wilidlife surveys and fish stocking.