Tribute to current conservation officers who died during National Police Week; memorial dedication tuesday in roscommon

Serving as a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer is a physically and mentally demanding career that requires tremendous commitment from officers and their families. During National Police Week (May 15-21) – and especially National Day of Remembrance for Peace Officers this Sunday – the DNR is proud to recognize the more than 200 conservations currently serving our state.

“Michigan Conservation Officers protect and serve our people, our parks and our public lands,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “Choosing to answer the call to public service is a noble act, and today we honor every conservation officer who has served and those we have lost in the line of duty. Every Michigander and visitor who loves our great outdoors knows how invaluable our conservationists are. They are professional, friendly and always eager to help people of all ages. They keep us safe, protect our pristine natural resources and represent our highest values.

Chief Dave Shaw, MNR Law Enforcement Division, said part of being a conservation officer is being an integrated and trusted member of the community.

“Officers and their families are often approached at the store, at school and at sporting events by neighbors eager to ask about new regulations, learn where fish are biting or confirm rumors of a local trophy,” he said. “Our work builds on these positive relationships and doesn’t stop at the end of a shift.

Game wardens, now called conservation officers, have been protecting Michigan’s natural resources since 1887. Since then, 16 officers lost their lives due to an incident occurring in the performance of his duties.

“With state-of-the-art technology, equipment and training, we’ve come a long way to ensure officers have what they need to stay safe,” Shaw said. “What remains constant, however, are forest and waterway officers in rural and remote areas patrolling, often alone and in bad weather. There are inherent risks in performing the duties of a conservation officer, and we will always support the families of our deceased officers.

May 17 Memorial Day

MNR staff, family and friends will mark the week with a ceremony on Tuesday, May 17 to dedicate the recently completed memorial to fallen Michigan conservation officers. Located on the grounds of the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, 104 Conservation Drive, Roscommon, the 7-foot-wide by 6-foot-tall granite memorial features the names of Michigan’s 16 conservation officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. and will include a rifle salute and remarks from representatives of MNR and the Michigan Conservation Officers Association. Family members of deceased officers will also be invited to speak, if they wish.

Media are welcome. For more information, contact Katie Gervasi at [email protected]

“The Michigan Conservation Officers Memorial is a place to preserve and honor our state’s fallen conservation officers,” said Jessie Curtis, president of the Michigan Conservation Officers Association. “This memorial will serve as a tribute to Michigan conservation officers who died or were killed in an incident that occurred in the line of duty and who will never be forgotten.”

Among those 16 are two officers, Elgin McDonough and Karl Zimmermann, who were killed together in a vehicle collision on December 21, 1932, but whose legitimate association with the fallen officers’ memorial was not discovered until l ‘last year.

In 2021, the DNR was notified by the Memorial page of the shot officer of McDonough and Zimmermann, who were unrecognized at the time by the department due to details of their deaths having been lost in a 1951 building fire that destroyed 25,000 records and damaged 30,000 other records.

Earlier this year, McDonough and Zimmermann were added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Visit Michigan.gov/DNRFallenOfficers to learn more about officers who have lost their lives in state service.

Michigan Conservation Officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who provide protection of natural resources, provide recreation safety, and protect residents through general law enforcement and rescue operations in the communities they serve.


Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Memorial: The recently completed granite memorial to Michigan’s 16 fallen conservation officers, on the grounds of the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon.

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