Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officer Jim Nelson of Pomeroy received Garfield County's "Peace Officer of the Year" award.
The award, which is given periodically for outstanding law enforcement work, was presented by Garfield County Sheriff Larry Bowles and U.S. Congressman George Nethercutt at a Feb. 23 southeast Washington Republican Party luncheon.
Nelson is a 15-year veteran of WDFW's enforcement program and has an excellent record of work in everything from endangered salmonid protection to elk damage control. Like all of WDFW's enforcement officers, Nelson also works in close cooperation with local law enforcement authorities as needed, beyond fish and wildlife cases.
Nelson's quick action last month to thwart the abduction of a 15-year-old Clarkston girl especially brought him to the attention of county officials.
"I was in the right place at the right time," Nelson said. But the case, which resulted in an arrest and conviction, was not an isolated one in Nelson's career. County officials believe he has a "knack" for always being in the right place at the right time.
WDFW Captain Mike Whorton of Spokane said Nelson's award is reflective of the service, beyond traditional game law enforcement, that WDFW officers provide. WDFW fish and wildlife officers are full commissioned police officers, certified by the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission. They receive the same basic training as city, county, and other traditional law enforcement officers.