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Conservation Officer Greg Swanson Named District 5 Officer Of The Year
Updated January 5, 2015 8:27 AM
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(UNDATED) - Indiana Conservation Officers congratulate Greg Swanson of Greene County as District 5 Officer of the year.

Operational District 5 encompasses an eight county area including; Clay, Greene, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo Counties. The IDNR Law Enforcement Division consists of ten districts statewide along with the Investigation Section.

Every year, each district and section selects a district "Officer of the Year" by vote of their fellow officers. Each officer chosen is then eligible for the state "Officer of the Year" to be selected by the director of the Law Enforcement Division and the director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The officer chosen will then receive the "Pitzer Award". This award was named after Indiana Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Officer Swanson's nomination letter by his peers:

District Five proudly submits a nomination for Officer Greg Swanson to be chosen as the 2014 Pitzer Award Winner. Greg possesses many admirable traits of Indiana Conservation Officers. To name a few he is very selfless in service to the greater good, he possesses great character, morals, and humility. He presents a positive image for the Division through both his energetic interactions with the public and his fair treatment of the public during enforcement actions.

Greg grew up in District Five outside of Putnamville, graduating from South Putnam High School in 1995. He realized at a young age that a career as an Indiana Conservation Officer was the direction he wanted to take with his life. To help him achieve the goal, he enlisted in the National Guard at the age of 17, a position to which he continues to be very dedicated. Greg attended Vincennes University where he earned an Associates of Science Degree in Conservation Law. Greg graduated the ICO recruit school in 1998 and was given a permanent assignment of Greene County. He has remained a fixture in Greene County since, where he and his family make their residence in rural Bloomfield.

Greg remains extremely busy; he's a member of the ICO Dive Team and serves as a Defensive Tactics/Use of Force Instructor. As a result, he often is called upon to instruct Defensive Tactics for other local agencies, as well as basic course students at the ILEA. In addition, he has served as a drill instructor in 2006, 2009, and 2014, providing the recruits with essential training and skills to become successful in their future careers. He will again provide the recruits with training, as he was selected as a Senior Drill Instructor for the 2015 training program. Greg coordinated and provided training for the firing squad at the First Annual South Region Memorial dedicated to those officers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties.

In April of 2014, Greg's peers voted him as their Peer Support Officer for District Five. In short, the officers in District Five felt he would be the most trustworthy, understanding, and helpful person to turn to during their times of need. This position is not to be taken lightly and again demonstrates the level of respect Greg has earned from his fellow officers. Greg has seen his share of troubled times himself, as a member of the US Army having served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006 and a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2012. On May 21st, 2012 the armored truck he was riding in was attacked. The driver of the vehicle was killed, and all four passengers were injured. Greg sustained shrapnel wounds, and as a result was issued the distinguished Purple Heart award. Greg later, in a display of selflessness, gave his award to the family of a World War II veteran whom was also injured during combat, but was never presented the very much deserved medal. To further demonstrate Greg's military accomplishments he won the 2009 Indiana Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Best Warrior Competition, the 2009 Regional Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Best Warrior Competition and went on to earn runner up in the National Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Best Warrior Competition.

In an effort to depict the type of officer Greg is, two of his 2014 cases were highlighted. In October of 2014 he had the unfortunate task of investigating the molestation of a child at a DNR Property. While investigating a crime of this nature there are many difficult, time-consuming, specific tasks that need to be completed. Carrying out those tasks while treating the victim and their family in a professional, dignified manner, with compassion, is not an easy task. Because of his hard work and thorough investigation, a solid case was presented to the Prosecutor's Office.

The second case occurred while Greg was heading home on a cold December night. Around midnight, he observed a spotlight on the White River, he approached the area on foot and for the next 3 hours he followed the boat as the occupants illegally shot furbearers. At times Greg had to run distances of ½ mile to obtain a better vantage point. He was ultimately able to approach the boat as it was coming to shore. The unsuspecting violators were amazed when Greg was able to recite some of their conversations during the past several hours. This is a prime example of a case that highlights the level of dedication, passion, and commitment Greg possesses to his profession.

Greg is always challenging himself and his co-workers by reviewing and researching fish and wildlife, as well as criminal law. He possesses an uncanny ability to not just recite and enforce regulations, rather to break them down and fully comprehend their meaning and reasoning. He has coordinated well thought-out, thorough, successful, enforcement details in his area of assignment. As a result of his efforts he has made all of the officers he works with a little smarter and builds upon the strong District Five camaraderie and morale.

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