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September 24, 2009

DNR honors 2009 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year

PFC Jim Capps of Georgetown County was awarded the title of statewide S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife officer of the year for 2009 during ceremonies held Sept. 24 in Columbia. Five other officers were also honored for their dedication in protecting the state’s natural resources through enforcement, education, special investigations, intelligence and records and staff operations.
           
The annual officer of the year awards and banquet are dedicated to the late Chief R.M. "Bobby" Gifford, highly regarded chief of natural resources law enforcement for many years. The S.C. Wildlife Officers’ Association, the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, the family of Chief Gifford and DNR together honored the state's top officers. DNR Law Enforcement Col. Alvin Taylor praised the officers for their outstanding work and dedication as he presented the awards.
           
The following were selected as outstanding DNR officers for 2009 from each of the state's four Natural Resources Enforcement Regions, Marine Law Enforcement Investigations and Education and Staff Operations. The statewide honor of Officer of the Year was chosen from these candidates:

DNR Officers of the Year, including the statewide title, were selected by a committee of key DNR law enforcement personnel and captains and rated in six categories: employment history; enforcement activities and specialties; awards, achievements and accomplishments; leadership, teamwork and attitude; family and community involvement; and outstanding cases.
           
Top men and women from across the state are chosen as DNR Officers of the Year because of their exceptional abilities in natural resources enforcement. Before assuming their duties, new officers must complete an eight-week course at the Criminal Justice Academy plus an additional five weeks of intensive DNR field training.
           
South Carolina's Natural Resources Law Enforcement officers serve and protect the state's natural resources by patrolling more than 31,000 square miles of the state's lands and inland waters. Officers also patrol 750 miles of tidal shoreline and marine waters, to the state's territorial boundary 3 miles offshore and beyond on special federal assignments.

Throughout the state's 46 counties, DNR officers enforce laws and regulations pertaining to more than 441,000 registered boats, and a half-million licensed hunters and anglers and the multi-million dollar coastal fishing industry. Officers enforce Wildlife Management Area regulations and statewide litter laws, instruct hunter and boating education, conduct statewide search and rescue operations and perform community service.        

South Carolina's natural resources are essential for economic development and contribute nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy. Find out why Life's Better Outdoors.
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