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Top Indiana Conservation Officers Honored
Indiana Ag Connection - 08/07/2020

The DNR Division of Law Enforcement recently recognized top conservation officers at an awards ceremony in Indianapolis.

District 4 Officer Jordan Brand, assigned to Delaware County, was selected as the James D. Pitzer Indiana Conservation Officer of the Year. Brand was selected from the 10 District Officer of the Year winners, and the award establishes him as the top conservation officer of 2019.

The Pitzer award is named in remembrance of James D. Pitzer, who was killed in the line of duty on June 2, 1961 in Jay County. The recipient is selected based on demonstration of professional ethics, attitude, and service to the public while demonstrating dedication to the conservation of natural resources and the enforcement of those laws affecting the department. The officer must also demonstrate the ability to provide a positive influence, develop camaraderie within the ranks, and gain confidence and respect of fellow officers.

Lt. Kent Hutchins, who serves District 5, received the Director's Leadership Award for his work, leadership, and dedication over his 40-year career.

Matt Garringer, District 4, won the 2019 William J. Nattkemper Brotherhood Award. Nattkemper and William J. Peare died on April 27, 1926 after their boat capsized on the Wabash River near Tecumseh. Witnesses to the incident, officers L.B. Watson, John Pile and A.R. Hill, remained at the scene until Nattkemper and Peare's bodies were recovered. The award recognizes the recipient as having the commitment and inseparable bond of brotherhood displayed by those officers in 1926.

District 1 Officer Matt Maher was recognized by State Boating Law Administrator Lt. Kenton Turner and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) as the Boating Enforcement Officer of the Year.

District 8 Officer Zac Howerton was presented with the 2019 Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year award for his enforcement of waterfowl regulations and his related performance in public education and community interaction.

Rhett Braun of District 4 was honored with a Life Saving Award for his heroic and quick response to a 911 call regarding a suicidal subject. He rendered lifesaving first aid.

Braun and Officer Cole Hollingsworth received the Meritorious Service Award for their efforts rescuing an 11 year-old girl from drowning after she fell into the Whitewater River in Richmond.

"It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to recognize the bravery and excellence of Indiana Conservation Officers from across the state," said Col. Steve Hunter, director of DNR Law Enforcement.

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