California wildlife officer David Bess has been appointed the new chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham announced. The position was recently vacated by the retirement of 33-year veteran wildlife officer, Chief Michael P. Carion.
“California’s fish and wildlife and the sportsmen and sportswomen of this state owe Chief Carion a debt of gratitude for 33 years of selfless service,” said Director Bonham. “Along with his predecessor, Chief Nancy Foley, Chief Carion worked to increase the number of wildlife officers in the state. Today, the force is at its largest since 2000. We wish Chief Carion well in his retirement and look forward to continuing that progress with Chief Bess.”
Chief Bess gained a variety of experience in the Law Enforcement Division starting as a wildlife officer in Contra Costa County and the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. He then joined the Special Operations Unit (SOU) of undercover wildlife officers who focus on illegal commercialization of California’s fish and wildlife. He eventually promoted to lieutenant to lead SOU. He promoted to captain and then assistant chief working on a variety of administrative tasks, including managing the Professional Standards Unit and legislative and regulatory duties.
Chief Bess brings a wealth of experience from running several businesses for more than 20 years. He sold his businesses and at age 43 followed his dream of going to the warden academy and becoming a wildlife officer. Chief Bess has a forestry degree from Humboldt State University, a degree in natural sciences from Sierra College, and has a lifelong passion for hunting and fishing.
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095