A Career in Law Enforcement|
History, Duties, and Expectations of an Indiana Conservation Officer|
Conservation Officers, as well as the Department of Natural Resources, have a long and colourful history in the state of Indiana dating as far back as 1889. In the late 1870’s naturalists began to raise a hue and cry about the uncontrolled use and depletion of our natural resources, concerned with such issues as soil erosion and the resulting water pollution, loss of acres of forest land to raging wildfires, and the draining of natural wetlands. In response, Indiana began to institute gaming seasons and laws to regulate acceptable conduct with regard to all natural resources. In 1889, County Road Supervisors were given authority to enforce these laws and regulations, essentially making these individuals precursors to the officers we know today. The Department of Fisheries and Game was established in 1899 and in 1901 the government created the Board of Forestry and the position of State Forester. Actual game wardens were established in 1911, with a salary of $75 a month, and within the first ten years Indiana wardens were averaging 55 annual arrests per officer.(DNR Timeline, www.in.gov) In 1913, Colonel Richard Lieber began working to procure land for the purpose of creating state parks in honour of Indiana’s 100 year anniversary of statehood. Three years later, Turkey Run and McCormicks Creek State Park, both purchased by Col. Lieber and his parks committee, were dedicated. Governor Goodrich signed a bill to create the Department of Conservation and appointed Col. Lieber as its first director in 1919. At that time there were five divisions in the department; Geology, Entomology, Forestry, Lands and Waters, and Fish and Game. Before Richard Lieber stepped down in 1933, he helped to found Clifty Falls, Brown County, Pokagon, Shakamak, Mounds and Spring Mill State Parks. (DNR Timeline,...