SPRINGFIELD – The Blagojevich Administration today announced the graduation of 20 Conservation Police Officer cadets, who have completed a 12 week Basic Law Enforcement Training Class at the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield. Acting Conservation Police Director Rafael Gutierrez congratulated the new recruits on behalf of Gov. Blagojevich today during a graduation ceremony held at the Academy.
“Illinois’ Conservation Police provide an invaluable service by protecting the state’s natural and recreational resources. Today we congratulate these 20 individuals who have made this commitment, so current and future generations will have an opportunity to enjoy the state’s many resources,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Acting Director Sam Flood.
“The role of Conservation Police has evolved over the years to extend beyond just enforcement responsibilities, but also to help foster appreciation for the state’s natural resources and educate the public about safe recreating and the role sportsmen play in conservation and stewardship,” said Gutierrez. “This class has consistently shown its enthusiasm and dedication throughout these last few months for the role they’re about to embark on, and on behalf of the Governor, I would like to congratulate them and welcome them to the Conservation Police.”
The 20 Conservation Police Officer (CPO) cadets will report to the Conservation Police Academy, located on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield on April 15. The cadets will then undergo another 12 weeks of intense academy training. CPO training will focus on wildlife laws; boating, snowmobile, ATV and other specialty safety education; endangered species protection, among other topics. Graduation from the Conservation Police Academy is scheduled for July 6.
This year’s recruit class marks only the second class of new Conservation Police Officers that have been trained and housed at the Conservation Police Academy. This facility makes it more efficient and more cost effective for the department to conduct recruit classes from year to year.
Since coming into office in 2003, Gov. Blagojevich has made public safety a top priority.
In his Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Gov. Blagojevich included funds for 20 additional Conservation Police Officers. Also included was funding for a new vehicle radio system for CPOs. Upgrading the current aging system will allow CPOs to be compatible with the Illinois State Police communications systems that will be updated this year.