DNR conservation officer hones skills in rigorous program

MARQUETTE — A Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer recently graduated from the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Capt. Wade Hamilton, Region 1 field operations coordinator who supervises DNR law enforcement in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, completed the intensive 10-week course. The academy is an invitation-only, professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers. It is designed to improve the administration of justice at home and abroad, and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.

Candidates are nominated by their agency heads based on their demonstrated leadership qualities.

“Capt. Hamilton earned this opportunity due to his daily leadership and professionalism,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler, who nominated Hamilton for acceptance to the academy. “He was an outstanding representative of the DNR and Michigan while at the academy. The advanced training he received will help the DNR become even more effective in protecting Michigan’s citizens and natural resources. We congratulate Capt. Hamilton on this impressive accomplishment.”

Hamilton has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience. He is a 23-year DNR veteran who also served five years in the Michigan State Police.

The 267th session of the academy consisted of men and women from 48 states and 25 countries. Former FBI Director James Comey was the principal speaker at the graduation ceremony.

The program includes studies in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science. Officers also participate in a wide range of leadership and specialized training, during which they share ideas, techniques and experiences, creating lifelong partnerships that transcend state and national borders.

The academy is physically demanding as well. The final fitness test candidates endure is the infamous “Yellow Brick Road,” a grueling 6.1-mile run through a challenging obstacle course built by the U.S. Marine Corps.

The academy began in 1935 to encourage standardization and professionalization of law enforcement agencies nationwide through centralized training.