After years of stability in the local ranks of conservation law enforcement, Scotland County has went through a transition period with a number of new faces over the past several years serving as the local Conservation Agent.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recently announced it had once again filled the vacancy.

“The Missouri Department of Conservation would like to announce an exciting change to Scotland and Schuyler county,” said Chris Grote, Missouri Conservation Agent Protection District Supervisor. “Conservation Agent Shannon Smith will serve the Scotland and Schuyler Counties as the local Conservation Agent.”

Gary Miller had held the position as Scotland County Conservation Agent for nearly two decades prior to his promotion in 2014. Michael Collins was appointed to the post in 2015, but the recent graduate transferred the following year. In 2017, MDC again filled the vacancy with a new graduate, Nathaniel Carr, who also transferred the following year.

MDC officials indicated the decision to combine the Scotland and Schuyler county protection areas under one agent was part of a transition in the enforcement division where a new independent task force has been formed, pulling a number of agents out of the county positions to work statewide.

The department also noted that there are a handful of counties that currently maintain two officers, with a similar number now in the same position as Scotland County, without a dedicated officer and instead sharing with a neighboring county.

The officials noted that enforcement data was considered during the decision making process, noting that regions like Scotland County, where there are a lower number of violations and smaller populations, were considered as part of the temporary force reduction.

MDC representatives also added that Scotland County will continue to be considered for future hires when new agents are added to the force.

Smith is no stranger to Scotland County residents having worked side-by-side with Miller for a number of years on northeast Missouri cases.

“Agent Smith has served the communities of Missouri for over twenty years, and served both Scotland and Schuyler counties since December 2018,” said Grote. “Anybody needing assistance can reach Agent Smith at 660-651-0522 or contact the Kirksville regional office at 660-785-2420.”