In Memory of Conservation Officer Sarah Grell

In Memory of Conservation Officer Sarah Grell

Minnesota Loses Conservation Officer in Crash

On Monday, May 24, 2021, Minnesota officials were saddened at losing a local conservation officer and mother. Conservation Officer Sarah Grell passed away as a result of injuries sustained in a vehicle crash. She was a civil servant and a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 16 years. She protected residents as they visited local parks, was a champion of nature and animals, and truly loved her work with the department.

It was approximately 8:30 am on Monday morning when a tractor-trailer struck her department vehicle, a Chevy Silverado, on the passenger side. The crash occurred near the intersection of County Road 336 and County Road 57 in Itasca County, Minnesota. Officer Sarah Grell was 39 years old. She is the 23rd officer of the Minnesota DNR to die in the line of duty since 1887. The crash is under investigation by the Minnesota State Police.

Officer Grell comes from a long line of naturalists. Several family members, including her uncle, father, and grandfather, served as conservation officers with the same Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Her mother is employed with the DNR Fisheries. Her husband worked for the DNR’s Forestry Division. Helping others and connecting to wildlife was in her blood. Grell joined the Minnesota DNR as an officer in 2005.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division

Grell and her family served the community through their positions with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Officer Grell had been assigned to the Enforcement Division. Officers with the department are charged with the management of the state’s natural resources. The DNR’s duties include maintaining state parks, state forests, trails, recreation areas, as well as managing local wildlife. The DNR is also responsible for the state’s minerals and water resources.

The Minnesota DNR has six divisions, including Ecological and Water Resources, Enforcement, Fish and Wildlife, Forestry, Lands and Minerals, and Parks and Trails. Officer Sarah Grell grew up in a family of conservation officers. She was living out her dream of serving the community through working with the Minnesota DNR. The Minnesota DNR has more than 3000 employees.


Conservation Officer Sarah Grell is survived by her husband and three children. Her extended family, neighbors, and fellow conservation officers will continue to support the Grell family during this difficult time. Many law enforcement officers from the surrounding areas came together to escort Officer Grell to the funeral home. The funeral is pending arrangements.

DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen gave a statement regarding the loss of Officer Grell and its impact on the department. “The sense of loss we feel right now is indescribable. We are heartbroken for her family. Our deepest sympathies and concerns are with them. Officer Grell leaves behind an incredible legacy of service to Minnesota’s people and natural resources.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz asked Minnesotans to demonstrate gratitude on behalf of Officer Grell. “My ask of Minnesotans is that the next time you meet a conservation officer as you enjoy Minnesota’s public lands and waters, remember Officer Grell and thank that officer for their work.”

Minnesota Representative Spencer Igo issued a statement sharing his condolences with the Grell family. “Minnesotans across the Northland are heartbroken tonight to learn of the tragic passing of Officer Sarah Grell. I want to send my deepest condolences and prayers to her family, loved ones, and all those at the DNR who are mourning the loss of a friend and colleague.”