Indiana Conservation Officers hold Memorial Service and Awards Ceremony

A ceremony was held Friday to remember fallen Indiana Conservation Officers and recognize current officers for their excellence while serving the state of Indiana and its citizens.

The seven members of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement who have died in the line of duty since its inception in 1911 were honored in the auditorium of the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis. Those officers, listed with their end of watch date: Sgt. Ed Bollman, Feb. 13, 2018; F/Sgt. Karl E. Kelley, April 17, 1998; ICO Thomas Deniston, Oct. 16, 1990; ICO James D. Pitzer, Jan. 2, 1961; 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 2 Officer Andrew Harmon, assigned to Wells County, was selected as the James D. Pitzer Indiana Conservation Officer of the Year. The award establishes Landis as the top officer of 2021, as selected from the 10 district Officer of the Year recipients.

The Pitzer award is named for Conservation Officer Pitzer, who was killed in the line of duty in Jay County. The Pitzer 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.

Capt. Nate Berry received the Director’s Leadership Award for his work overseeing officers in the southern portion of the state and assisting the agency to navigate COVID-19 and the 2021 ICO hiring process

District 6 Officer Joe Tenbarge 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 in boating education.

District 1 Officer Matt Maher was presented with the 2021 Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year award for his enforcement of waterfowl regulations and his related performance in public education and community interaction.

Conservation Officers Hunter Law of District 1, Rob Klakamp of District 8, Travis Stewart of District 9, and Terri Millefoglie and Alex Neel of District 10, were honored with Life Saving Awards for their exceptional actions that resulted in the saving of a life.

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