Yesterday, the Shikar-Safari Club International named Officer Jason Hutchinson its 2017 Wildlife Officer of the Year during the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) meeting near Tallahassee.
Shikar-Safari Club International is a conservation-based organization that presents awards annually to wildlife law enforcement officers in all states, provinces and territories in the United States and Canada. Jim Harrison from Shikar-Safari attended the meeting and presented the award.
"Conservation officers stand as sentinels for the protection of Florida's precious resources and the public who use these resources," said Harrison. "Shikar-Safari is pleased to be able to honor Officer Hutchinson for his outstanding work."
The annual award honors a state officer whose efforts show outstanding performance and achievement among sworn conservation law enforcement personnel.
"Officer Hutchinson is a fine example of our dedicated law enforcement members. We have the best conservation law enforcement officers in the country who are out there every day protecting the public and Florida's natural resources," said Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski. "I'm honored to have him representing our agency."
Hutchinson rescued a first-time hunter lost at night in the treacherous Escambia River swamp, caught people illegally night hunting and trespassing, discovered a hidden alligator snapping turtle, and even apprehended one of his area's most wanted methamphetamine distributors. He's also developed an officer mentoring program and performed countless outreach hours to area youth and civic organizations. And all of that was just in 2016.
Hutchinson's family was present at the Commission meeting to see him receive the award.
"I'm truly humbled by this honor. I'd like to thank all my brothers and sisters in FWC, both sworn and non-sworn, because this is a team effort. And I want to thank my family for putting up with those late-night calls. It's a real blessing to be able to do what I love with the FWC and my fellow officers," said Hutchinson.
Media contact: Rob Klepper, 850-617-9666, Robert.Klepper@MyFWC.com