Those big boots that Cal Treser left behind — they’re on their way to being filled.
Treser was the longtime game warden in western Okanogan County who retired in spring 2015 after 16 years protecting Washington’s largest mule deer herd, watching after and keeping plenty of other critters out of trouble, and policing tens of thousands of acres of beautiful state lands that serve as winter range for the aforementioned herd, not to mention the region’s bountiful waters.
The job was passed along to a new officer, and it appears like Jason Day is more than up for the challenge.
He was named WDFW’s 2016 Enforcement Officer of the Year earlier this month.
“A really good man and a solid team member,” says his boss, Sgt. Dan Christensen, who nominated Day earlier this year.
Day received his honor at the Safari Club International Northwest Chapter‘s Feb. 10-11 banquet in Seattle.
Day’s beat represents the intersection of prime fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation opportunities, state and federally listed species in the form of salmon, steelhead and wolves, and a region which has “a tremendous call for service expectation,” in Christensen’s words.
That keeps Day busy, and in 2016 he filed the most incident report forms of any fish and wildlife officer in the state, as well as issued the second most citations in the month of October, his sergeant reported in his nomination letter.
“While the citation numbers do not tell the entire story, the quality of those enforcement actions, speak for his strong work ethic and commitment to the resource and his agency,” wrote Christensen.
WDFW headquarters staff termed Day “the full package.”
“Being an effective Fish and Wildlife police officer is more than catching bad guys. Sure, Officer Day is damn good in that role. But he also has the best judgment, inherently knowing when it’s best to educate and when to arrest,” said Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. “Officer Day has the tenacity and acumen to catch the worst of the worst, sending second thoughts through the minds of would-be violators. But he also has the heart to understand that humans are, well, human. In our brand of law enforcement, unraveling mistakes from intentional violations is critical to being effective.”
Day, a graduate of Western Washington University, grew up in the upper Okanogan Valley where family still resides, and lives in the Methow Valley with his wife and kids.
WDFW also recently recognized a deputy county prosecutor for “valiant efforts in supporting conservation.”
Grays Harbor’s Jon Beltran “has championed a number of important cases, ensuring an outcome that sends a strong message to violators,” officers posted on Facebook.
Just as important as the work that officers like Day do in investigating fish and wildlife cases, county prosecutors are the next step in bringing poachers and others to justice.
“Success in protecting the public’s natural resources is a team effort, with the local county prosecutor’s office being a critical member. Without support at that level, a lot of our work would be meaningless,” said Cenci. “As a citizen of Grays Harbor County, Mr. Beltran understands how important natural resources are to his coastal communities, local economies, and our outdoor heritage. WDFW Police appreciate his ability to take on the most complex cases and navigate the challenges that constantly beget enforcing natural resource laws.”
Congrats to Officer Day and Deputy Prosecutor Beltran — your hard work is appreciated!