OLYMPIA - The Washington Department Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Enforcement Program has become only the third fish and wildlife enforcement agency in the country to receive recognition from a national accreditation program.
The Enforcement Program, which is responsible for the protection of the state's fish and wildlife resources by enforcing fishing and hunting rules and regulations, has met all 97 core standards as identified by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The standards relate to training, use of force procedures, evidence handling, records management and communications.
"This recognition represents a significant achievement for the program, and reflects a high level of professionalism," said WDFW Enforcement Chief Bruce Bjork.
Enforcement staff recently received an on-site inspection by an outside assessor, whose report was forwarded to CALEA commissioners for review. The panel voted unanimously to grant a recognition award.
In all, there are approximately 450 CALEA standards that must be met or found not applicable before an enforcement department can be eligible for full accreditation.
"Working through this accreditation process ensures that our fish and wildlife officers are among the best trained in the nation, and that our program operates at a high level of professionalism," Bjork said.
WDFW's enforcement program consists of approximately 150 uniformed officers and 12 non-commissioned personnel. Enforcement officers also ensure compliance with habitat protection requirements, respond to emergency situations involving bear, cougar and other dangerous wildlife, and assist other law enforcement departments in emergency response situations.