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DLNR officer resumes patrol duties after multiple allegations cleared


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POSTED: Sunday, August 23, 2009

A state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer has been cleared of allegations—from forcing people to strip to pointing a firearm at a child—and is resuming his field patrol duties.

The officer was exoner-ated in investigations by the attorney general's office and the land department, which issued a news release Friday.

Department Director Laura Thielen said it appeared the complaints were generated by people caught violating the law or who disagreed with state laws.

The investigations found the complaints unsubstantiated or that the accusations were contradicted by records or people at the scene.

According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, nine complaints about the officer were received in November. The department opened an investigation and asked the attorney general to open a separate criminal investigation. During the investigations, the officer was placed on administrative leave.

Two complaints accused the officer of directing people to strip. The complainants later asked to drop the complaints when they were told audio recordings of the arrests exist.

In another complaint a mother accused the officer of pointing his gun at her child, who was hunting. Investigators found the officer took out his weapon after he was confronted by a pack of hunting dogs and holstered his weapon after the hunting dogs were secured.