Article for January - February 2006
So What’s the Difference?
by Rosanne McDowell
Things have changed a good bit for state game wardens since the early days, and few understand those changes better than Maj. Windy Pulaski (retired). Case in point, per Pulaski: “One of the biggest changes game wardens have had to deal with is that years ago, hunting took place Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays, and the hunting supply stores closed in accordance with this practice. Now sportsmen hunt seven days a week, and law-enforcement officers have had to adapt accordingly.” In addition, he notes, water activity in the state has increased tremendously, giving game wardens much more work on the water than they once had.
How about the biggest improvements for game wardens? Looking over his thirty-eight years of service, Pulaski says there’s no question: The greatest progress has occurred in training and communications. “When I first went to work,” he explains, “they would just give you your weapon, badge and ticket book, and the local officer would train you on the job. That was all the training you got. Then the criminal-justice academy was established, and we started having in-service and regular training each year. These have been the biggest helps toward making us more professional and effective as law-enforcement officers.”
As for communications, with the old system of years ago, game wardens could hear operators transmitting and would sometimes have to go miles to find a place high enough to transmit back. Today’s system provides ease of communication wherever an officer might be.
Whether things change or remain the same, Pulaski believes the public makes or breaks the game warden’s ability to do the job well: “The officers can’t do any more than the community will allow them to do. We’ve been blessed, especially down here in the Lowcountry: People give you information and help you, and that’s how we’ve been able to grow and do a good job.”