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2007 Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Enforcement Program Customer Satisfaction Survey

Category: Enforcement

Date Published: February 2008

Number of Pages: 26


Enforcement Program Citizen Survey Methodology

In August 2006, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Enforcement Program began to devise a citizen survey to meet the requirements of a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) standard. The standard requires that agencies seeking accreditation must conduct a citizen survey at least once every three years. The survey must include the following measures: overall agency performance, overall competency of agency employees, citizens’ perceptions of officers’ attitudes and behavior, community concern over safety and security, and recommendations or suggestions for improvement.

To meet the requirements of this standard, Accreditation Manager Kimberly Flowers sought the assistance of the one accredited natural resource law enforcement agency in the nation: the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. Major Bayard Holleger, Jr., provided a sample of their Enforcement Section’s citizen survey that served as a preliminary template for the WDFW Enforcement Program survey.

The initial draft of the survey was reviewed and approved by Chief Bruce Bjork, the Enforcement Accreditation Committee, Enforcement Captains, Public Affairs Special Assistant Margaret Ainscough, Strategic Planning Special Assistant Sue Patnude, and Washington State University Associate Director of the Division of Governmental Studies and Services Michael J. Gaffney.

Information Technology Specialist Doug Hoyer adapted the survey to an Internet-based form for posting on the WDFW Enforcement Web page. The survey was developed for on-line completion because it is the most cost-effective survey method; we hoped to reach a large, statewide audience; and the data is collected in a manner that facilitates tabulation and analysis.

The on-line survey became active on May 24, 2007, and it was available for completion until December 31, 2007. During that time, we received 2673 responses. Persons interested in completing the survey on paper were mailed a copy at their request.

Management Analyst Jonathan Neville compiled the results data and created the charts and final reports using Microsoft Office products. The results of this survey will become a baseline for future surveys.

Major Findings

  • Demographics. Most respondents recreate by fishing, hunting, visiting wildlife, or harvesting shellfish. The respondents recreating are primarily made up of 40 to 70 year old residents of Washington State who have lived in WA for at least twenty years and have hunted and fished for over ten years. The top five counties most frequented are King, Snohomish, Pierce, Grays Harbor, and Cowlitz counties.
  • Contact Information. Out of 2673 respondents, 62% had recent contact with Enforcement Program staff. Overall, 85% of the respondents viewed their contact with WDFW employees between Neutral to Very Pleasant. Officers made up the majority of contacts at 77%, compared to 15% Hunter Education staff, and 8% being Customer Service employees. Assisting citizens made up 23% of Officer contacts, while only 5% of contacts resulted in citations.  
  • Personal Contact Evaluation. In regards to Officer knowledge and job competence, as well as attitude, 70% of the respondents gave ratings of Good or Excellent. In regards to demeanor, Officers received a 68% rating of Good or Excellent. Appearance resulted in 78% respondents giving officers a Good or Excellent review.
  • Officer Staffing Levels. While recreating in Washington, 10% of respondents witnessed Officers on patrol Often or Always. In contrast, 27% of participants witnessed violations Often or Always. Moreover, 65% of survey respondents would like to see more Officers on patrol and believe that more officers are most needed in Western Washington, followed by Eastern Washington. Enforcing Recreational Fisheries, Hunting/Trapping, Commercial Fisheries Rules and Laws as well as conducting Public Education and Responding to Dangerous Wildlife Complaints have been shown to be the most important priorities of the Enforcement Program. Overall, 64% of the respondents believe that there needs to be more Officer presence statewide and 58% more presence in their most frequently visited county.
  • Overall Evaluation. Only 22% of the respondents believe that the Enforcement Program is at least doing a Good job of protecting wildlife resources while 33% of the respondents believe that the program is doing a Poor or Very Poor job. In regards to protecting fish/shellfish resources, the Enforcement Program had 12% rating of Good or better and a 37% rating of doing a Poor job or worse. For protecting public safety, 30% believed that the Enforcement Program is doing a Good or better job while 24% think the Program is doing a Poor or Very Poor job. Lastly, 32% of the respondents believe that the Enforcement Program is doing a Good or Excellent job as a law-enforcement agency, while 24% believed that the agency is doing a Poor or Very Poor job.