23 New ODNR Natural Resource Officers Begin Law Enforcement Duties

Officers take Oath of Office at Aug. 17 ceremony

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Twenty-three Natural Resource law enforcement officers were sworn in today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz in a small outdoor ceremony at the agency’s headquarters.

“We are incredibly proud to call this impressive group of men and women natural resources officers,” said Director Mertz. “They will be an essential part of the team that protects visitors on both land and water at state properties across Ohio.”

Natural resources officers have peacekeeping and enforcement responsibilities on lands and waters owned or administered by ODNR. Officers enforce Ohio's boating laws, investigate allegations, protect state property, and make arrests. Officers also conduct educational programs and serve as important contacts for visitors. Natural resources officers may also render community assistance to state and local law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

“This year’s class were extraordinarily team-oriented and they showed a high level of resilience and flexibility in all aspects of the rigid training process, despite the challenges COVID-19 added to their training,” said Glen Cobb, Chief of ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft. “These officers will greatly enhance ODNR’s statewide law enforcement operations.”

The officers received their basic Peace Officer training earlier this summer and graduated on July 24 from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy. They also completed an additional four weeks of specialized training related to ODNR operations. In addition to law enforcement procedures and agency policies, the cadets received training in areas of ATV use, communications, vessel operation, advanced firearms, and self-defense.

The new officers will continue their training by working closely with experienced officers in their assignment areas for the next several months.

At today’s ceremony, several officers were recognized for their outstanding performance throughout their Peace Officer Training, which was attended by cadets from ODNR and other law enforcement agencies.

  • Erin M. Scott, from Darke County, achieved honors in academics.
  • Michael L. Weikert, from Greene County, achieved honors in firearms.
  • Heather Byers, from Licking County, was nominated Class Speaker fellow cadets

The new natural resource officers’ county of residence and ODNR assignment follows.

Timothy Arfons (Summit County) - West Branch State Park
Thomas Bromagen (Lorain County) - Cleveland Field Office
Heather Byers (Licking County) - Buckeye Lake State Park
Alex Clapper (Portage County) - Buckeye Lake State Park
Parker Deuley (Geauga County) - Mosquito Lake State Park
Justin Edwards (Logan County) - Caesar Creek State Park
Samantha Galvin (Lorain County) - Wingfoot State Park
Michael Green (Lorain County) - Sandusky Field Office
Cody Heft (Jackson County) - Shawnee State Park
Brian Hopkins (Ottawa County) - East Harbor State Park
Emily Kent (Union County) - Buck Creek State Park
Morgan Little (Franklin County) - Deer Creek State Park
Carlie Long (Ross County) - Rocky Fork State Park
Kevin Maurer (Knox County) - Mohican State Park
April Nickles (Washington County) - Mohican State Park
Andrew Norcross (Huron County) - Sandusky Field Office
Robert Prendergast (Franklin County) - Cleveland Field Office
Jacob Rettenberger (Coshocton County - Salt Fork State Park
Nathaniel Rouse (Medina County) - Findley State Park
Erin Scott (Darke County) - East Harbor State Park
D’Angelo Thigpen (Ross County) - Rocky Fork State Park
Jonathan Tyma (Clermont County) - East Fork State Park
Michael Weikert (Greene County) - Caesar Creek State Park

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, and conservation of Ohio’s 75 state parks and waterways.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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