During our show Wednesday, we discussed the challenges police have in responding to domestic abuse calls in rural communities; it's an extension of the Ground Level series "The Price of Safety."
During the segment, we noted a researcher at Illinois State University who had heard of officers calling game wardens to be backups for domestic violence calls. Turns out the proper term these days is 'conservation officer' -- but we wondered on air whether those officers would have the same training and be prepared to be part of a domestic violence call.
We immediately got a call from Rita Frenzell, who now lives in north Minneapolis and who retired two years ago as a DNR conservation officer. She spent her career as a field officer in the metro, but then the last 12 years before retirement were as a supervisor in the Mille Lacs district in central Minnesota.
Are conservation officers just as prepared as any other law enforcement officer to respond to something like a domestic violence call?
In short, Frenzell said the answer is yes.
"Conservation officers have to meet the same requirements as any other law enforcement officer, in terms of the degree and the initial skills training," she said.
Frenzell added there's the additional factor that many conservation officers had previous experience dealing with domestic violence calls because they had previous jobs as police officers, sheriff's deputies or state troopers.