The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named Brad Hasamear the 2017 Colonel Bob Brantley Wildlife Officer of the Year at their annual meeting in Louisville this week. Stewart is a senior conservation officer for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“Today’s Conservation Enforcement Officers must be educator, mentor, public relations officer, hunting and fishing promoter, search and rescue professional, and law enforcement,” SEAFWA President Alvin Taylor said. “Senior Officer Hasamear meets every one of these demands with a positive attitude, complete effort to each and every case, and unwavering professionalism.”
Hasamear is the only officer assigned to Lawrence County, a large, mostly rural county home to two wildlife management areas, Bankhead National Forest, and the Tennessee River. As a testament to his maturity and work ethic, Hasamear schedules his work days in split shifts, sacrificing his off-time flexibility so that he is working during the most critical times of each day. He made 181 game violation cases in the 2016-17 hunting season, focusing his efforts on violations which create a danger to the public and adversely impact wildlife populations.
Hasamear’s knowledge of woodlands and waterways has made him an incredibly valuable member of the ADCNR and partner to other law enforcement agencies. In 2016 alone, he was instrumental in locating and rescuing 11 individuals and rendering medical assistance within the Bankhead National Forest. Using his canoe, he rescued an elderly couple and their dog from rising floodwaters. He assisted state and local law enforcement agencies with a suspect who had assaulted and injured four officers.
He takes public outreach seriously, engaging in youth hunting, shooting, and fishing events; hunter education programs; outdoor outreach programs; archery in the schools; and providing numerous talks to schools and civic group meetings.
“It is rare to find such a young man with the drive, impeccable work ethic and deep love for the protection of our natural resources as the State of Alabama found in Officer Brad Hasamear,” said ADCNR Director Chuck Sykes. “This combination makes him the blueprint for what the modern conservation enforcement officer should be.”
The Association’s Wildlife Officer of the Year Award is determined by nominations submitted to the head of law enforcement from the SEAFWA states and territories. In addition to direct law enforcement, an officer is selected based on community service, outreach and education, interdepartmental cooperation and innovations that may be utilized by other officers and departments.
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.