Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers Receive Lifetime Achievement Award
Washington, DC –-(Ammoland.com)- Retired Chief Benito Perez of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and Senior Trooper Mark Prodzinski of the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Oregon State Police have been selected to receive the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s 2010 Guy Bradley Award for wildlife law enforcement.
Both recipients were honored during the 76th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 17, 2011. The Guy Bradley Award is named after the first wildlife law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in 1905 and is presented each year by the Foundation to recognize individuals for outstanding lifetime contributions to wildlife law enforcement.
“We’re honored to present the Guy Bradley Award to Chief Perez and Senior Trooper Prodzinski for their outstanding service in protecting and conserving wildlife resources. Their dedication and accomplishments provide a model for all those charged with safeguarding wildlife and wildlife habitat,” said Foundation Director Jeff Trandahl.
“We join the Foundation in applauding the accomplishments of these men, who together have spent more than 60 years on the frontlines of wildlife conservation,” said Service Acting Director Rowan Gould. “Their work and the work of all wildlife enforcement officers are truly making a difference for wildlife.”
Perez, a native Texan who joined the Service as a special agent in 1988 after 10 years as a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is being honored for his contributions as a criminal investigator and for his leadership of the Service’s law enforcement operations at both the national and regional level.
As Chief of the Office of Law Enforcement from fall 2006 through January 2011, Perez guided Service enforcement related to the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the nation’s many other wildlife protection laws. Under his direction, Service special agents, wildlife inspectors, and forensic scientists pursued some 13,000-plus investigations a year involving the numerous threats to wildlife resources including illegal commercialization and habitat destruction. He also served two stints as deputy chief, during which he played a major role in shaping and implementing strategic and workforce plans for Service Law Enforcement.
From 2001 to 2003, Perez successfully managed Service law enforcement operations in an area that encompassed the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Nevada and Hawaii and the Nation’s Pacific island territories. Investigations completed under his direction secured prosecutions or settlements in cases involving the destruction of endangered species habitat; the trafficking of eagles, endangered ocelots, and State-protected leopard sharks; and the killings of a California condor and other endangered or threatened wildlife.
Perez was also recognized for his personal accomplishments and expertise as a criminal investigator. In 1999, for example, he helped break up a highly sophisticated elephant ivory smuggling operation in Kenya in cooperation with the Kenyan Wildlife Service. As a field agent for the Service in Dallas and Los Angeles, he completed numerous high-profile cases that exposed illegal trafficking in eagles, sea otter skins, and endangered fish and documented the illegal take of wildlife by defendants that ranged from big game hunters to a California fish farm.
Senior Trooper Prodzinski, a well-respected officer over the course of his 30-plus year career with Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Division, is being recognized for his enforcement skills and sustained success in making cases that contributed to the conservation of state resources. Stationed since 1993 at the Division’s Madras Work Site in central Oregon, he has helped protect natural resources in an area prized for its many outdoor recreation opportunities. His enforcement “beat” encompasses the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains as well as some 100 miles the Deschutes River, an officially designated “wild and scenic” river.
Prodzinski’s accomplishments include significant contributions to safeguarding and restoring fishery resources. He developed and implemented a bull trout protection plan that reduced the illegal harvest of these fish from Lake Billy Chinook and the Metolius River (the State’s only active fishery for this species). His patrol and surveillance work over the years have helped protect that lake’s kokanee population from illegal fishing. He has also served as the Division’s cadet coordinator for the Lower Deschutes River, training and coordinating the work of seasonal officers assigned to policing this popular recreational area — an area visited by thousands of anglers and whitewater rafting enthusiasts each year.
Prodzinski is also being recognized for his accomplishments while assigned to the Division’s Portland office from 1985 to 1993. During this period, he played a major role in efforts to protect critical salmon and steelhead stocks in the Columbia River Basin. He worked to address conservation issues that included water pollution and habitat protection and excelled in enforcing laws and regulations governing big game and waterfowl hunting.
Prodzinski demonstrated his dedication to wildlife conservation early in this career when he worked for over four years as a seasonal cadet for the Wildlife Division. Hired by the Oregon State Police as a patrol officer in 1985, he quickly secured a divisional transfer so that he could pursue his “passion” for protecting wildlife.
A nonprofit organization established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the Nation's fish and wildlife. By teaming leadership conservation investments with those of public and private partners, the Foundation maximizes measurable conservation benefits. Since its establishment, the Foundation has awarded 10,800 grants to more than 3,700 organizations in the United States and abroad, while leveraging more than $635 million in federal funds into $1.5 billion for conservation. For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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