DNR conservation officer earns Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honor

Contact: Lt. Andrew Turner, 517-284-4720
Agency: Natural Resources

Oct. 8, 2020

McCullough-JasonMichigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Jason McCullough has been recognized by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, being selected from among officers in 13 states as MAFWA's 2020 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

The award was presented today during the association's annual board meeting, hosted virtually due to COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines.

Formed in 1934, MAFWA is an organization of 13 state and three provincial Midwest fish and wildlife agencies that collaborate to benefit the management and conservation of fish and wildlife resources in the Midwest.

"Officer McCullough's dedication, fairness and leadership have earned him respect from his peers and made him a successful law enforcement officer in protecting Michigan's natural resources and public safety," said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

McCullough accepted the award with gratitude.

"There are many hard-working officers within our division," he said. "Being chosen to represent the Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division at the MAFWA awards ceremony is an honor."

With the DNR Law Enforcement Division for 18 years, McCullough patrols in Calhoun County and has served as an acting sergeant several times. He regularly volunteers to patrol demanding operations throughout the state and is one of the division's most highly regarded field training officers, mentoring new officers by allowing them to gain their own real-life experiences and offering constructive feedback. Additionally, McCullough has:

  • Been a first aid instructor within the division for 15 years.
  • Served as a tactical tracking instructor since 2016.
  • Assisted with the hiring process for new officers.

"To have my name included among the names of past Michigan nominees for this award, for me, validates all the time, effort, energy and training those officers have put into making themselves and myself better," said McCullough.

His ability to produce solid court evidence to proceed with prosecutions has earned McCullough respect from authorities at the local level.

Previously assigned to Clare County, McCullough in 2015 received a Certificate of Merit from the Clare County Sheriff's Office for his actions assisting in the apprehension of an attempted murder suspect.

In 2019, McCullough helped the U.S. Army National Guard at Fort Custer track and identify a suspect in an illegal hunting incident. McCullough ultimately received a confession from the individual, who was ticketed and banned from the military base.

Invested in serving his communities, McCullough established a hunter education program within a local Amish school in Clare. In both Clare and Calhoun counties, he is a popular guest speaker for many clubs and organizations.

Last year, McCullough secured Christmas donations from the National Wild Turkey Federation for a boy diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. McCullough personally delivered the gifts to the Calhoun County child, who hopes to be a conservation officer when he grows up.

A dual-degree alumnus of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, McCullough has bachelor's degrees in Resource Ecology Management and Environmental Policy and Behavior.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

/Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

McCullough-Jason: The Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Jason McCullough its 2020 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. McCullough, who patrols Calhoun County, was selected from among officers in 13 states./