OLYMPIA - Officer Todd Vandivert, a veteran fish and wildlife enforcement officer with a distinguished record of service on both sides of the Cascades, has been named statewide Officer of the Year by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Vandivert, a WDFW Marine Patrol officer stationed in Anacortes, won top honors from supervisors and fellow officers for his law enforcement work in Skagit and San Juan counties from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004.
During that period, Vandivert made more than 2,400 public contacts and 533 arrests in cases involving everything from commercial fishing violations to big game poaching. That represents more than half of all the arrests made by officers in WDFW Detachment 13, which includes five counties in northwest Washington.
Not a single complaint was filed in any of those cases, said Chief Bruce Bjork, who heads WDFW's enforcement program.
"In fact, we received favorable comments from several violators about how professionally they were treated," Bjork said "Officer Vandivert is a highly skilled investigator, who consistently makes good cases. He is an excellent example for all of our officers."
In that capacity, Vandivert has been an active participant in WDFW's training program for new officers and taught special classes in crime investigations. He also teaches classes focusing on methamphetamine labs, a health hazard increasingly encountered by officers enforcing fish and wildlife laws.
Vandivert, 48, began his career as a habitat manager for the now-defunct Washington Department of Game in 1979. He switched to enforcement in 1983, and has since held posts in Forks, Pasco, Shelton and Dayton - where he specialized in investigating big game violations - before transferring to the Marine Patrol in Anacortes in early 2003.
"After arriving in Anacortes, Officer Vandivert quickly adjusted to his new marine duties and continued to excel at big game investigation," wrote Sgt. Russ Mullins, who nominated Vandivert as WDFW's Officer of the Year. "This quality of work sets standards and levels of integrity that all of us can aspire to."