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January 10, 2013

Four out of 14 of the newest Illinois Conservation Police are alumni of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Joseph Cochran '09, Eric Mieure '11, William Mueller '09, and Benjamin Schutz '11 form part of the first class of new officers since 2007, all of them military veterans. Only the ninth Conservation Police Officer (CPO) class in the last 19 years, they are vital to protecting wildlife and natural resources, also protecting Illinois citizens and visitors in state parks, on state waterways, and on the highways and back roads of the state.

Governor Pat Quinn noted in December's graduation ceremony that CPOs are the most diversely trained law enforcement officers in all of Illinois, required to complete not only 24 weeks of general law enforcement training but also 12 weeks' specific training amounting to nearly 1,000 total hours of preparation for their new posts. Their responsibilities will be myriad and include: enforcing game and fish laws, boat safety, timber regulations, and drug and traffic laws. In addition, the officers will assist with the safety of outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and serve as first responders in times of floods, tornadoes, blizzards, and natural and human-made disasters.

The governor lauded the graduates for their service to the country and for "returning home to protect the Land of Lincoln once again."

Want to know more about CCJ? Contact Michael Harbin at mharbin@siu.edu, 618.453.6434