Vernon has one of the 20 new conservation officers now on the job in BC.
Environment Minister George Heyman says it’s the largest influx of recruits the Conservation Officer Service in 10 years.
Heyman (pictured) says the new officers are in sites with the highest need and areas where retirements are imminent.
“We have some communities that haven’t seen a new conservation officer for a very long time so these new recruits will significantly improve services,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Our government recognizes how important it is to put more boots on the ground to help protect our natural resources and wildlife, and lessen human-wildlife conflicts.”
The 160 conservation officers throughout BC are located in 45 communities and work on a zone-coverage basis, where they respond to complaints and concerns anywhere in the zone.
Several factors are looked at when determining where a new conservation officer should be posted, such as call volume, zone coverage and staffing levels.
Sixteen of the new recruits are fresh out of the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy in Hinton, Alta. and will spend the next six months working with a field trainer. The other four officers come from law enforcement jurisdictions elsewhere.
This year’s newly created positions are in Vernon, Grand Forks, Bella Coola, Port McNeil,,Mackenzie,,Chetwynd,,Haida Gwaii,,Duncan,,North Fraser zone (two positions), Chilliwack and Atlin.
The remaining eight conservation officers will fill posts in Quesnel, Terrace, Creston, Prince George, Merritt, Fort St. John and the Lower Mainland (two positions).