A ceremony was held today (5/25/2023) to remember fallen Indiana Conservation Officers and recognize current officers for their excellence while serving the state and its citizens.
The seven members of the Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement who have died in the line of duty since its inception in 1911 were honored in the Indiana Government Center auditorium in Indianapolis. Those officers, listed with their end of watch date, are Sgt. Ed Bollman, Feb. 13, 2018; F/Sgt. Karl E. Kelley, April 17, 1998; Officer Thomas Deniston, Oct. 16, 1990; Officer James D. Pitzer, Jan. 2, 1961; Officer Robert S. Perkins, May 27, 1958; Warden William J. Nattkemper, April 27, 1926; and Warden William J. Peare, April 27, 1926.
Indiana conservation officers are law enforcement officers for the DNR, and the DNR Division of Law Enforcement is the oldest Indiana state law enforcement agency. A total of 214 conservation officers serve the state.
After the memorial ceremony, the division recognized current individual officers for their outstanding service.
District 6 Officer Nick Wilson, assigned to Hendricks County, was selected as the James D. Pitzer Indiana Conservation Officer of the Year. The award recognizes Wilson as the top officer of 2022, as selected from the 10 district officer of the year recipients.
The Pitzer award is named for an officer who was killed in the line of duty in Jay County. The recipient demonstrates professional ethics, attitude, and service to the public while demonstrating dedication to the principles of the conservation of natural resources and the enforcement of laws affecting the department. The officer must also demonstrate the ability to provide a positive influence, develop camaraderie within the ranks, and gain the confidence and respect of fellow officers.
Sgt. Pete Slavin received the Director’s Leadership Award for his work overseeing officers in operational district 5 in the western portion of the state and assisting with field training new officers.
District 3 Officer Jarred Coffing was recognized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) as the state’s Boating Enforcement Officer of the Year and for his leadership in boating education.
District 2 Officer Nathan Cooper was presented with the 2022 Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year award for his enforcement of waterfowl regulations and his related performance in public education and community interaction.
Conservation Officer Hunter Law of district 1 was honored with a Life Saving Award for his exceptional actions that resulted in the saving of a life.
Learn more about DNR Law Enforcement at on dnr.IN.gov/lawenfor.