In a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft and Mount Vernon City Schools, a crucial step in the recruitment process for Natural Resource Officers has been enhanced. Sargent Blaine Downing and Cassie Emler, representing ODNR, spearheaded physical testing for potential applicants seeking to serve as guardians of Ohio's state parks and waterways.
As the law enforcement arm of the ODNR, Natural Resource Officers play a vital role in maintaining the safety and integrity of these natural spaces. Beyond enforcing regulations, they actively engage in educational programs such as Boater Safety to ensure a safe coexistence of recreational activities and environmental conservation. Emler highlighted the nature of the officer's responsibilities, stating, "We basically are the police of those areas and also conduct many diverse educational programs like Boater Safety."
The selection process for the approximately 20 positions available includes a Physical Fitness (PT) test, consisting of timed pushups, situps, a 1.5 mile run, comprehensive interviews, and a swimming evaluation. The latter comprises a 300-yard swim, a 5-minute water tread, and a surface dive, ensuring that candidates possess the physical stamina and aquatic skills necessary for patrolling and safeguarding Ohio's diverse landscapes.The Energy Fieldhouse, with its state-of-the-art mats and track facilities, provides an optimal environment for ODNR to conduct these critical physical tests. The collaboration underscores the commitment of both entities to ensuring that officers are well-prepared for the challenges they may face while patrolling and safeguarding Ohio's parks and waterways.
"We are fortunate to reside in an area abundant with natural resources, including trails, parks, and waterways. It is with great pleasure and appreciation that we have partnered with ODNR to offer our facility for their recruiting and training initiatives. We hope that this collaboration will, in its own modest manner, enhance the ongoing safety and well-being of Ohio's parks and waterways." stated Superintendent William Seder Jr.