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Division of Law Enforcement
April 7, 2017 through April 13, 2017
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
Patrol, Protect, Preserve
CALHOUN COUNTY Officers Hayes and Baber were working two separate baited food plots that Officer Hayes had previously identified. Although no subjects were seen at the baited areas, the officers heard a shot close by on the same hunting lease. The officers moved to investigate and located two subjects who had killed a gobbler. After a short interview and inspection of the area where the bird was killed, it was determined that the area was baited. Both subjects were cited for taking turkey over bait and the turkey was seized as evidence.
Officer M. Webb was approximately 16 miles offshore on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, when he conducted a vessel stop and fisheries inspection. The captain of the vessel was in possession of four red snapper and was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.
Officers H. and M. Webb were on water patrol approximately 14 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico when a subject was seen dumping a fish from a vessel. The fish was recovered and determined to be a red snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.
Officer Burkhead was conducting land-based water patrol at the Jim Woodruff Dam when he noticed a vehicle with vessel in tow that had fishing equipment and several coolers on board. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed a chest containing live bait in the truck. Officer Burkhead received permission from the owner to inspect the cooler. 21 red drum were found in the cooler, 20 of which were under the legal size. The owner was charged with possession of over the bag limit of red drum and several counts of undersized red drum. The fish were taken as evidence.
Officers Jarvis and Maltais were patrolling the coastal shoreline conducting state fisheries and license inspections. One of many resource stops involved two fishermen catching over the bag limit of pompano. The officers counted a total of 19 pompano. One of the individuals was issued a notice to appear citation and both individuals were issued a citation for no saltwater fishing license.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Ramos received information that several men were fishing in Escambia Bay and keeping red snapper. After making his way to the area, the officer saw men actively fishing. When he asked the men if they had caught any fish, they replied that they had not. License and resource inspections revealed that one of the men had caught and kept two red snapper. The fish measured 11 and 10 inches, respectively. One of the men admitted he caught both fish. The fish were seized and the man was charged accordingly.
Officers Mullins and Hutchinson were patrolling the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when they saw a truck damaging the road by spinning out. They stopped the truck and approached the man driving it. While speaking with him, three more trucks with large mud tires pulled up to them covered in fresh mud. The officers discovered that they were all together. During interviews, the men driving the trucks admitted to riding along closed roads and mud riding in a closed clay pit. While the officers were driving back to the pit to access the damage to state lands, they saw more damage to the roadways that was caused by the four trucks. The officers issued each man a notice to appear citation for damage to public lands by a motor vehicle. They were also issued warnings for driving on closed roads.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Clark attended the Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic in Pensacola. There were approximately 400 kids in attendance, making it one of the largest in the state. The kids were taught the basic techniques of fishing and were given a rod and reel. Officer Clark answered many fish and wildlife questions from the parents.
Officer McHenry attended the Annual Firefighters Challenge at Pensacola Beach. He displayed a marked patrol truck in a first responder’s area that was set for kids. He also handed out brochures and answered many questions.
Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Yates and Tison attended the At the Park Day at Ponce De Leon State Park. The Holmes County Public Library partnered with Holmes County 4-H Club, schools and the park to host a day of outdoor education for the elementary school children. Approximately 400 people were in attendance, including US Congressman Matt Gaetz. Students were educated on the importance of our environment, conservation and safety. The children learned about the role of FWC and the Division of Law Enforcement. They were shown Officer Yates’ patrol vessel, truck, nature-related items and were provided informational handouts while enjoying the outdoors.
Officer Nichols assisted the staff of Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park with the Annual Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival. Activities and exhibits included wildlife displays and shows, kayaking and paddle boarding tours, guided trail hikes by local experts, touch-tanks with Choctawhatchee Bay aquatic species, fish-print shirts, kid-friendly crafts and scavenger hunts. The event was free to the public with approximately 1,800-2,000 guests attending.
Officers attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the new boat ramp and park at the Highway 331 Bridge. The park was dedicated to Thomas Pilcher, a retired Florida Marine Patrol officer and a member of the Board of Conservation. The FWC representatives were Officers Jarvis, Trueblood, White, P. Rockwell, Lieutenant Clark and Captain Rondeau. The offshore patrol vessel Vigilance was tied to the new boat ramp. The FWC representatives provided an informational booth during the event.
Officer Tison participated in a West DeFuniak Elementary School outreach event. He spoke with approximately 15 students about the importance of fish and wildlife conservation and covered various topics, including the duties of an FWC officer.