(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources reports its largest Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement recruit class ever staged.
From the Hawaiʻi DLNR:
By this time next year, if they all succeed, the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) will have 42 additional conservation officers to beef up the ranks in all four branches of the agency: O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui, and Kaua‘i.
37 men and five women began their training today, which includes nine months of classroom instruction followed by two months in the field under the supervision of a training officer.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla commented, “This is the largest academy we’ve ever staged. This is our third academy, and the second for recruits who have no previous law enforcement training or background. It comes at a critical time for us, as the pressures and impacts on Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural resources increase all the time. These folks will help our existing officers educate people using State lands and ocean waters.”
The addition of new officers received support from Gov. David Ige and the Hawai‘i State Legislature. DLNR/DOCARE is partnering with the Dept. of the Attorney General, the Department of Accounting and General Services, and Honolulu Community College, which is part of the University of Hawai‘i system and was instrumental in designing the academy curriculum.
Lt. Carlton Helm leads the academy program for DOCARE and describes the adaptive and flexible attitude recruits will need to adopt to succeed and to become sworn officers.
“The pandemic really highlighted the need for resilience and being adaptive and fluid to the working and occupational environment we work in. For example, a Hawai‘i Island DOCARE officer may have to respond to the hunting areas on Mauna Kea one morning, and then find themselves responding to the rain forests of Puna or Volcano in the afternoon. Teaching these recruits about being adaptive and fluid is an important component of their training. Their bodies, their minds, and their spirit will need to be adaptive,” Helm explained.
The mission to provide around-the-clock protection for a monk seal mother and her pup on O‘ahu’s Kaimana Beach, provides a real-time example of the need for additional conservation officers around the state. “The addition of new officers will be critical to not only support regular patrol needs but will help DOCARE ensure we have adequate coverage for large, time-consuming missions, as well as to beef up our ranks for special duty on other islands when needed,” Helm said.
He added that it’s taken years of work with the governor’s office, the legislature, other State departments, and DLNR leadership to open and fund the largest recruit class in DOCARE’s history, and to prepare for today’s academy start. Once these 42 officers take to the field, people will notice a much great presence from DOCARE and that will help us fulfill our mission more fully.”