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Three conservation officers honored at Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently resumed in-person awards for staff at the Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting, held Nov. 10 at the Michigan Library and Historical Center in Lansing.

The department recognized conservation officers Tyler Sabuda and Andrea Erratt and the retired corporal. Ivan P̩rez. Sabuda received a Distinguished Service Award, and Erratt and Perez were presented as the 2019 and 2020 recipients of Shikar Safari Officer of the Year Рthe highest honor from the Law Enforcement Division of the DNR, awarded annually. . Shikar Safari award shows have already been delayed due to the pandemic.

Conservation Officer Tyler Sabuda, Distinguished Service Award

Contact: Lt Brandon Kieft, 989-275-5151, ext. 272-7100

Conservation Officer Tyler Sabuda, Iosco County, received an Distinguished Service Award after risking his own life to save the driver of a vehicle submerged in the Au Sable River.

July 13 was a rainy and overcast day. At 4:06 p.m., Sabuda received a call about a vehicle that was fully submerged in the river near the Cooke Dam in Oscoda. The driver, Joseph Sand, 82, of Davison, was trapped inside the vehicle.

The water temperature was 72 degrees and the air temperature was 69 degrees. At the location just below the Cooke Dam, the river is about 230 feet wide with a rapid current.

Sand and Rodney Weinzierl, 70, of Millington, were visiting Sand’s neighboring property. The two stopped at the lower boat launch at Cooke Dam, where Weinzierl exited the vehicle to smoke a cigar. Weinzierl said Sand turned the vehicle around and somehow got stuck in the river.

Sabuda arrived at the scene at 4:19 p.m. When Sabuda reached the water’s edge, he could see a red vehicle completely submerged in 6 feet of water, about 125 feet downstream of the launch and about 50 feet feet from the riverside.

Sabuda was informed by a passer-by that Sand was in the vehicle and that no one on shore had attempted to enter the rapid water yet.

Sabuda removed his uniform in preparation for an aquatic rescue attempt. At this point, Greg Alexander, an officer with the Oscoda Township Police Department, arrived at the scene and also prepared to enter the water. Sabuda entered the water with his MRN-issued inflatable life jacket and a window punch.

As Sabuda approached the vehicle, he could see Sand in the driver’s seat, his seat belt fastened and the window down. Battling the strong current, Sabuda forced the door to partially open, but the current continued to close the door on Sabuda’s body as he attempted to remove Sand from the vehicle.

Alexander arrived and was able to hold the door open so Sabuda could dive under the water, unbuckle the seat belt, and remove Sand from the car.

Sabuda and Alexander put the lifejacket on Sand and began to swim against the current towards the shore. An individual on a kayak helped Sabuda, Alexander, and Sand return to shore.

As Sabuda neared shore, he ordered a firefighter to retrieve his automated external defibrillator from his patrol truck. When Sabuda arrived ashore, Danny Gallahar, an officer with the Oscoda Township Police Department, handed Sabuda his AED.

Gallahar began CPR on Sand while Sabuda prepared Sand for treatment with the AED. The AED advised no shock, so Sabuda ran to his patrol truck, grabbed his Ambu bag, and returned to provide rescue breaths while Gallahar gave chest compressions. The ACN, again, advised no shock.

At 4:33 p.m., paramedics transported Sand to Ascension St. Joseph Hospital in Tawas City, where he was pronounced dead at around 5:06 p.m.

“Sabuda selflessly put his life in danger, in an attempt to save another, without hesitation,” said Chief Gary Hagler, MNR Law Enforcement Division. “Sabuda suffered many cuts and bruises due to the harsh environment of the riverbed and the fast current. Although the outcome of the events was unfortunate, this does not change the exemplary courage shown by Sabuda. ”

Conservation Officer Andrea Erratt – 2019 Shikar Safari Officer of the Year

Contact: Lieutenant James Gorno, 989-732-3541

Andrea Erratt began her career as a conservation officer in November 1997. In her first month, she made 25 arrests for offenses including weapons loaded in motor vehicles, illegal deer, deer and unlabeled traps and two drunk drivers.

Erratt has patrolled nearly 10 years each in Cheboygan and Charlevoix counties and is currently posted to County Antrim. Over the course of her career, she has helped resolve a wide variety of violations on behalf of MNR and the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, including fish, game, snowmobile, navy , ORVs, illegal burning, wood theft, garbage and illegal disposal. solid waste.

Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Raised over $ 22,000 in reimbursements due to game arrests, including cases of illegal license fees for bull and cow, deer, trumpeter swan, bobcat, mink, otter and non-residents.
  • Obtained a grant from International Wildlife Crimestoppers, Inc. for a new mechanical deer lure and additional funding from the Charlevoix Rod and Gun Club.
  • Preparation of 14 briefs for prosecution, ranging from unregistered snowmobiles and illegal burns to illegal hanging of deer and fish.
  • Obtained a 2020 Professional Citation for participating in an investigation into the victims of a hunter that resulted in a conviction for manslaughter.
  • She has located more than 90 individuals with illegal blinds and tree stands, which she found while patrolling state land on foot.

“Erratt is an exemplary conservation officer and conducts herself with the highest level of professionalism, which makes her a role model in the community and for other officers,” said Chief Gary Hagler, Enforcement Division of MRN law. “Her enthusiasm and dedication to resources and her team make her an exceptional gamekeeper.

Retired Cpl Ivan Perez – Shikar Safari Officer of the Year 2020

Contact: Lieutenant Tom Wanless, [email protected]

A native of Texas, retired Cpl. Ivan Perez grew up hunting and fishing and wanted to pursue a career as a conservation officer.

While enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, Perez was stationed at the United States Coast Guard station Saginaw River, where he encountered conservation officers who moored their boats at the same dock. In 1995, Perez fulfilled his childhood dream and became a conservation officer, assigned to Ottawa County.

During his 26-year career, Perez has been involved in numerous long-running investigations and prosecutions, including boating-related deaths, working undercover to stop the spread of invasive species in the state and in several major investigations of trophy deer and turkeys.

Based on his extensive knowledge and experience in boating and maritime safety, in 2019 Perez was promoted to Marine Specialist Corporal in the Education and Law Enforcement Section in recreational safety – the first person to assume the new position.

In one year, Perez investigated 10 permanent local boat checks, which are special rules for boating, and 10 temporary local boat controls, requiring extensive communication and data collection. He also took it upon himself to research local boating events and contact the event coordinators to ensure the presence and participation of conservation officers.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Perez helped establish online boating safety courses for many state and federal entities so that more people can enjoy the outdoors safely.

“Perez’s success can be attributed to his ability to create positive and lasting relationships within his community and local municipalities, including local, state and federal officials,” said Chief Gary Hagler, Division of MRN law enforcement.

Michigan Conservation Officers are law enforcement officers who protect natural resources, provide recreational safety, and protect residents by performing general law enforcement duties and community rescue operations. that they serve. Due to the nature of their work, these officers often work with federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to ensure public safety. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.