Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 508-7095
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
A California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer was selected as the most outstanding wildlife officer in the western United States by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) at their annual conference in July.
Warden Mark Imsdahl, who works in Butte County, was named Pogue-Elms Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his exceptional performance throughout the year, his individual accomplishments and his leadership among his peers.
“We are very happy to present Warden Imsdahl with the Pogue-Elms award this year, as his dedication to the protection of California’s resources is second to none,” said WAWFA Secretary Larry L. Kruckenberg. “His individual accomplishments are truly exceptional, but even more important is his collaborative work with other wardens and fellow law enforcement agencies. His actions bring great credit to himself, CDFW and California.”
Warden Imsdahl joined CDFW in 1997. In addition to his regular game warden duties, he is a firearm instructor, a department armorer in every weapon system and a field training officer. He also teaches rural tactical operations and is a scenario evaluator at the CDFW warden academy.
“Mark’s dedication to the protection of the state’s resources is just outstanding,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Chief Mike Carion. “The department is very proud that WAFWA recognized Mark for his tremendous work ethic and drive to educate the public and enforce the resource laws of California.”
Some of Imsdahl’s 2013 accomplishments include:
• Selected to Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) pilot program, enforcing drug and public health and safety laws statewide.
• Awarded the California Medal of Valor for his courageousness during an officer-involved shooting in a marijuana grow in 2012.
• Investigated and prosecuted multiple illegal mining cases involving the Feather River along the Oroville Wildlife Area.
• Made several waterfowl, upland game and wildlife poaching cases in rural northern California counties.
• Pursued a suction dredge mining case where the suspects challenged the constitutionality of California state laws regulating mining. Because of the complete case work Warden Imsdahl did, the case was up held in court and the suspects were convicted of illegal suction dredging.
• Made two joint marijuana/poaching cases in Butte County. After making routine traffic stops, Imsdahl found large amounts of marijuana in the suspects’ trucks. During subsequent interviews, the suspects confessed to having illegally killed deer and bear. Large amounts of evidence were later recovered from the suspects’ homes, including animal carcasses, bear parts, baiting equipment, untagged deer antlers and several hundred pounds of marijuana.
WAFWA represents 23 states and Canadian provinces, spanning from Alaska to Texas and Hawaii to Saskatchewan. WAFWA is a strong advocate of the rights of states and provinces to manage fish and wildlife within their borders. It has also been a key organization in promoting the principles of sound resource management and the building of partnerships at the regional, national and international levels in order to enhance wildlife conservation efforts and the protection of associated habitats in the public interest.