Wolf Song of Alaska News

Concern for Alaska's Wildlife Enforcement Wanders in about 30 years too Late

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / August 19, 2006

Now you are concerned about wildlife enforcement?

Your editorial supporting the boards of Fisheries and Game in asking that the governor review the lack of fish and game law enforcement is good but belated ("Wildlife cops," July 26).

As a long-retired fish and wildlife protection officer for Alaska, I can assure you that this problem began when Gov. Bill Egan transferred the Division of Protection from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to Public Safety in 1972. His intent then was punitive because officers sought union representation. The state troopers in charge from then on continually tried to subjugate fish and game enforcement to themselves.

While officers resisted for years, the merger resulted in a long slide toward today's almost complete lack of wildlife enforcement. The merger into one blue uniform was just the final blow.

While there were some small pluses over the years in associating with state troopers, what Alaska really needs is an independent, legislated division of wildlife enforcement back under the Department of Fish and Game. Anything less will not improve things substantially.

I don't blame the current governor or the commissioner of public safety. Alaskans have been apathetic about this for years.

And just who makes up this blue-ribbon committee reviewing the board's letter? Do you really believe it's unbiased?

There are a few dedicated officers today, but they are hamstrung by unreasonable fiscal and policy restraints.

---- Wayne Fleek / Juneau

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