Tag Archives: Wildlife Officers

California Wildlife Officers Recognized for Special Service Acts, with Medal of Valor Awards

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers Chad Edwards and Michael Dilts received awards today at the 2017 Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor Ceremony in Sacramento. These annual awards recognize state employees for heroic acts of bravery. Wardens Edwards and Dilts each received the “Special Service Award” (Silver Medal): For an act of heroism by a State employee extending above and beyond the normal call of duty or service performed at personal risk to his or her safety to save human life or State property.
 
Edwards, Chad 2Warden Chad Edwards (Siskiyou County)

In September 2014, an arsonist ignited a brush fire on the outskirts of the town of Weed. The fire spread into town where it burned more than 150 homes and numerous commercial structures in a matter of hours. Warden Edwards heard the radio traffic regarding the fire and immediately responded to the area. He evacuated homes by transporting people in his patrol truck and flagged down other evacuees with empty seats in their cars, and coordinated for them to shuttle people out. Working through the chaos of the actively burning areas and aerial retardant dump, Warden Edwards made trip after trip into the burning neighborhoods to rescue stranded families, senior citizens and pets. He was ultimately an integral part of the investigation that brought the arsonist to justice. Warden Edwards acted with bravery and heroism extending above and beyond the normal call of duty to save human life. Amazingly, no lives were lost in this fire, due in part to the actions of Warden Edwards.

Dilts, Michael (1)Warden Michael Dilts  (Patrol Vessel Coho, Los Angeles County)
In July 2016, Warden Dilts was patrolling in the Seal Beach area near the San Gabriel River when he was flagged down by two pedestrians who told him that a vehicle was in the river and the female driver still inside. In the front seat of the partially submerged van, Warden Dilts found a woman who was making no attempt to escape. He immediately radioed for additional officer assistance, removed and secured his heavy duty belt and entered the water. Warden Dilts swam to the sinking van, extricated the driver and, relying upon lifeguard skills from past employment, pulled her back to shore. Thanks to the quick actions and dedication of Warden Dilts, the driver was rescued and the fully submerged van was recovered from the river.
 

“Year after year I find myself awestruck and proud of the outstanding service and brave acts of our fine wildlife officers,” said CDFW Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess. “The daily duties of our peace officers, like all others, comes with a known and certain inherent risk of danger, yet without hesitation they accept these risks and responsibilities. These awards recognize our officers who, through their selfless acts, exuded confidence in their training and preparedness to take their public service responsibilities to a level of heroism.”

 

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Joe DeAnda, CalHR, (916) 322-6944

CDFW Now Hiring Law Enforcement Cadets

Do you have what it takes to be a California wildlife officer? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently accepting applications for Fish and Game warden cadet (wildlife officer), with a final filing deadline of Oct. 17, 2016. CDFW is particularly interested in recruiting applicants with a love of the outdoors, a passion for conservation and knowledge of fishing and hunting activities.

For information on minimum qualifications and other requirements to become a wildlife officer cadet, please visit https://jobs.ca.gov/public/bulletin.aspx?examcd=6fg13.

The CDFW Law Enforcement Division typically receives more than 600 cadet applications per hiring cycle. All prospective candidates are encouraged to extensively review materials on the department’s website (www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career) before contacting CDFW with questions.

CDFW wildlife officers are fully sworn California peace officers with a fundamental duty to serve and protect the public. They have the authority to enforce all California laws, including the Vehicle Code, Penal Code, Health and Safety drug laws and more. The primary mission of a wildlife officer is to enforce hunting and fishing laws; to protect California waterways and habitat from destruction, pollution, and litter; provide the public with hunting and fishing information; and to promote and coordinate hunter education and safe weapons handling.  Wildlife officers investigate illegal sales of wildlife, fight against illegal drug trafficking and respond to natural disasters. They are also federally deputized to enforce federal fish and wildlife laws.

Wildlife officers patrol the mountains, valleys, deserts, creeks, streams, rivers and ocean. They frequently work alone and cover both rural and urban areas. California’s diverse ecosystem spans 159,000 square miles divided into 58 counties, with a human population in excess of 39 million. The state has 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers. Wildlife officers patrol utilizing trucks, ATVs, personal watercraft, boats, snowmobiles and airplanes, making contact with Californians in the great outdoors. Wildlife officers work undercover, conduct surveillances and complete full-scale investigations, including writing and serving search warrants. CDFW has special operations teams focused on wildlife and drug trafficking, a dive team and a K-9 program.

Annually, wildlife officers make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations for violations of the law.

Successful applicants will attend a Peace Officer Standards of Training (POST) certified law enforcement training academy, conducted by CDFW at Butte College, near Chico in northern California. Following the academy, cadets will work with a seasoned field training officer for several more weeks, learning to apply their training in practical circumstances.

The job posting and state application are both available online.

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Media Contact:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

CDFW Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 23 Cadets, Adding 14 New Wildlife Officers to the Ranks

Twenty-three new law enforcement cadets graduated from the California Wildlife Officer Academy during ceremonies at the Performing Arts Center in Paradise on Aug. 12, 2016. The badge pinning and swearing-in ceremony included 12 sponsored warden cadets and two current peace officers who transferred as laterals from other agencies. These new wildlife officers have a few additional weeks of formal training before setting out on their first patrols with Field Training Officers (FTOs). The other 11 graduates were self-sponsored cadets who paid their way through the academy and are now eligible to apply for a wildlife officer position, or any other California law enforcement position. Three were already hired by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office as deputies.

“Our cadets and academy staff have worked extremely hard to develop the skills necessary to protect California’s fish and wildlife, and the public alike,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Chief of Enforcement David Bess. “I am confident they will serve our state well.”

CDFW’s Wildlife Officer Academy is certified through the California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and offers training consistent with every law enforcement agency in California. Field training with experienced FTOs is also mandated by POST to be sure new wildlife officers can apply the skills they learned during the academy to real life circumstances. FTO is the final stage of formal training. Upon successful completion, these officers will begin patrolling California to protect the natural resources of this great state.

Two veteran wildlife officers had the special honor of passing the torch to family members. Twenty-five year veteran wildlife officer Lieutenant Marty Wall pinned his son, Douglas Wall. “It’s a proud moment and a true honor to see your son follow in your footsteps, sharing your values and continuing your life’s commitment to protecting California’s wildlife,” said Lt. Wall.

Thirty-year veteran wildlife officer Lieutenant Sam Castillo also pinned a badge on his nephew, Daniel Castillo.

Annually, wildlife officers make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations. These officers primarily work alone, in remote areas, contacting subjects who almost always have some form of weapon, and they do so knowing that backup could be hours away. Wildlife officers have large patrol districts and great responsibilities, and frequently a sole officer will cover an entire county. The average California wildlife officer’s patrol district exceeds 500 square miles.

In 2008, CDFW teamed with Butte College to provide peace officer academy training for prospective wildlife officers. That partnership provided CDFW a state of the art POST-certified academy facility with 40 years of police training history.

CDFW anticipates the next round of warden cadet selection to begin in September or October of 2016, with the next academy beginning in January 2017. For more information about becoming a wildlife officer and the application timeline, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career.

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Media Contact:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

Shikar-Safari Club International Honors Lt. Andrew Halverson as Wildlife Officer of the Year

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lt. Andrew Halverson was recently selected by the Shikar-Safari Club International as recipient of its 2015 Wildlife Officer of the Year award.HalversonAndrew (2)

Shikar-Safari honors one wildlife officer each year who exemplifies outstanding leadership, skill, conduct and ingenuity in the performance of his or her duties. Lt. Halverson demonstrates these characteristics and more, and is recognized as a true leader among his peers, fellow wildlife officers and command staff. He has good working relationships with allied agencies and constituents in communities he proudly serves. He is known and respected for his work ethic, sense of humor, professionalism and integrity. In addition to performing his lieutenant duties in Kern County, he balances a diverse case load, field training officer tasks, department firearms armorer tasks and his special assignment to the Inland Region of the California Hazardous Materials Investigators Association, covering 13 counties.

“Lt. Halverson truly encompasses everything the Shikar-Safari award stands for,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Division Chief David Bess.

Lt. Halverson embodies the skills and abilities of a well-rounded wildlife officer and leads his squad of six in Kern County by example. Last year, Halverson was lead case officer in several challenging cases involving environmental and habitat violations. He takes the extra steps necessary to assure properly investigated cases, with accurate documentation of events and actions. His value as an investigator is immeasurable. Halverson possesses a master’s degree in forensics and has five years of experience as a crime scene investigator. As a lieutenant, he is creative, supportive and readily applies his abilities to stop poachers, polluters and unlawful marijuana cultivators.

Kern County has experienced an increase in black bear activity over the last few years and as result, Lt. Halverson and his squad have handled a high volume of difficult human-wildlife conflicts involving bears. They have handled a variety of issues ranging from bears in homes, bears in trees and bears in towns. Halverson applies his creative nature to develop unique and successful approaches to dealing with these challenges.

Halverson readily conducts public outreach events and meetings. He has a talent for working with the public, the media, businesses and allied law enforcement agencies. Regardless of the challenges, even in highly charged and potentially political situations, Lt. Halverson has a natural ability to see problems through to a successful resolution.

Shikar-Safari was founded in 1952 as a hunting organization but quickly recognized its potential to affect meaningful change in the area of wildlife conservation. Funds raised by the Shikar-Safari Club International Foundation are used to support various conservation projects in the United States and throughout the world.

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Media Contact:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-9982

Illegal Marijuana Cultivation Sites Cleaned Up to Protect Endangered Species

Media Contact:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

California wildlife officers will work with several allied agencies and scientific personnel to clean up six polluted illegal marijuana cultivation sites to protect three species threatened with extinction. The sites encompass habitat of the federally endangered Coho salmon, federally threatened northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher, which was recently proposed for listing as federally threatened.

Scientific data conclusively proves how pollution from illegal marijuana cultivation has further degraded habitat quality for each species, and how bioaccumulating rodenticides, common to illegal cultivation sites, continue to acutely affect the northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher. Consequently, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) applied for and received Section 6 federal funds earmarked to benefit such species to conduct cleanup operations after the sites were eradicated and secured.

Wildlife officers from CDFW, the California Air National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office conducted the raids and eradication of each of the six sites in mid-summer, and marked them for return and environmental reclamation. The growers are alleged members of one or more international drug trafficking organizations. In addition to polluting the land and water and destroying habitat, they represent a serious threat to public safety.

Personnel from all agencies will work together to restore the sites to as pristine a condition as possible. They will remove the entire infrastructure of the grow site including rodenticides, fertilizers, pesticides, human waste and garbage and thousands of feet of irrigation tubing.

On Oct. 16, representatives of the media will be escorted into one of the grow sites. The general location will be in Trinity County off of Highway 299, midway between Whiskeytown and the coast. It is a 40 minute hike from the road. Those joining the tour should be in good physical condition, wear long pants and long sleeves with good hiking boots, wear gloves and have eye protection, wear a wide brim hat, carry plenty of water (most operational personnel will have 100 ounces or more CamelBak style water containers) and an energy bar type of snack. Photographers are advised to prepare for the extremely dusty conditions that result from working underneath a helicopter.

Media should R.S.V.P. to patrick.foy@wildlife.ca.gov for operational details and specific information on when and where to meet.