Fish and Wildlife Officer Frank Milazzo, a 27-year veteran, was selected as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) 2016 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Milazzo recalls his first encounter with a game warden vividly at age 11, on one of many outdoor adventures with his grandparents. From that day, he developed a love and passion for California’s fish and wildlife and set a goal to become a game warden.
Milazzo attended California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, graduating with a degree in zoology. He attended the first Fish and Game Academy at Napa Valley College in 1989. Milazzo enjoyed a variety of patrol districts and assignments in his career, including the patrol boat Hammerhead in Long Beach; positions in the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Barbara County and his current position in Mariposa County, where he has served since 1999. Milazzo gained expertise handling a variety of wildlife-human conflicts including mountain lion and bear attack investigations. Milazzo is known as a thorough, tireless and detailed investigator and technical report writer. He has investigated hundreds of deer and bear poaching cases over the years using a variety of techniques from old-fashioned hard work and surveillance to use of the latest forensic techniques and applications. Over the past 16 years, Milazzo has worked closely with local law enforcement and the citizens of Mariposa County and built a solid reputation as a go-to resource for all fish and wildlife related issues.
Milazzo has developed a reputation for deep community involvement. In 2014, he was selected by Mariposa County Judge Dana Walton to serve on the Mariposa County Civil Grand Jury, where he served with distinction for a one-year term. Milazzo is a past member of the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District and was selected by the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors for a position on the Mariposa County Historical Sites and Records Preservation Commission.
Milazzo received the Director’s Achievement Award in 1993 for his outstanding accomplishments in support of CDFW’s wildlife and conservation goals. In 1997, he was nominated as the southern enforcement district’s officer of the year. In 2008, Milazzo was awarded the department’s Medal of Valor and received the Governor’s Gold Medal of Valor, the highest honor bestowed on a state employee, for his selfless acts of heroism in deterring and detaining an armed, suicidal and homicidal suspect.
“In light of Milazzo’s awarded and dedicated career, his diverse experience with the department and his extensive involvement with his community, he is an excellent choice for the CDFW 2016 Wildlife Officer of the Year,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Division Chief David Bess.
When Milazzo is not pursuing his warden endeavors and proudly serving the department, he enjoys spending time with his children sharing his inherited values of hunting, fishing and collecting historic fish and game memorabilia.
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982