OLYMPIA –Reporting poaching and other fish and wildlife violations to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) just got easier.
WDFW has added a new text-messaging option for reporting activity that threatens fish, wildlife and critical habitat. Tip411 allows users to send a text message to WDFW’s communications dispatch center.
“We have a limited number of fish and wildlife officers in the field, so the public plays a critical role in protecting our natural resources by reporting violations,” said Chief Bruce Bjork, who heads WDFW’s enforcement program. “Text messaging is a quick and easy way to report violations.”
The text reporting system is powered by Minnesota-based Citizen Observer, a private vendor under contract with WDFW. The system removes the texter’s name and replaces it with an alias before the message arrives at WDFW’s communications center, said WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. When necessary, the system allows the reporting party and the on-duty fish and wildlife officer to exchange text messages in real time, Cenci said.
WDFW enforcement officials ask anyone who witnesses a potential violation to collect as much information as possible without confronting the individual under suspicion. Bjork said helpful information includes license plate numbers, vehicle color and make, the type of violation, the time it occurred and a description of the individual or individuals involved.
Tips should be sent to 847411 (Tip411). The message must begin with the letters WDFWTIP followed by a space, and then a brief description of the violation and location.
Go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/poaching/ for more information about how to report emergency and non-emergency fish and wildlife violations. The site includes instructions for texting, phone numbers and direct links to the email and online reporting options. The site also contains a link to Crime Observation Reporting Training (CORT) provided by the Eyes In the Woods association and WDFW enforcement officers.
To report Aquatic Invasive Species violations call toll free at 1-888-933-9247. Violations also can be reported to any WDFW regional office, or by calling the Washington State Patrol Communications Center (see local phone directories).