As a group, our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the people who have lost homes, livelihoods, and loved ones. Recovering from such events takes a long time. However, in darkest of days there are lights that shine brightly, and the conservation law enforcement officers of SEAFWA states are some of the brightest. Southeastern state fish and wildlife officers are very active as first responders, and states assist each other in such efforts.
When natural disasters strike, the highly trained and dedicated state agency wildlife law enforcement officers are some of the most crucial first responders on the scene. Not only do these men and women have the equipment needed to handle flood waters and other challenging conditions, they also have the experience and training to do so safely and effectively. These officers man the front lines of search and rescue missions and provide community policing services.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, officers from other states were standing by ready to launch rescue operations. During the height of Harvey’s rainfall, there was regular contact between Directors Carter Smith (TX), and other SEAFWA state directors to coordinate first responders and encourage those impacted in the Lone Star State.
In short order, Hurricane Irma turned their attention east to Florida, where Texas officers had the opportunity to quickly return the helping hand extended to them by FWC officers. Director Wiley (FL) noted that with the FWC and officers from other Southeastern states, there were more than 500 vessels and 300 officers ready to deploy as they braced for Irma. This hurricane double whammy shined a spotlight on the often overlooked and unsung dedication of the law enforcement personnel of your state agencies in providing essential public service. Thank them when you have the chance.