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Conservation Officers Recognized for Outstanding Service

April 24, 2013

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that two New Jersey Conservation Officers recently received recognition for their outstanding service to the citizens and natural resources of the state. Conservations Officers enforce laws and regulations that protect wildlife and its habitat and are the Division's most visible representatives, contacting thousands of hunters, anglers, wildlife enthusiasts and the general public every year. These highly trained officers patrol the state and its waters using the latest in law enforcement technology as well as traditional methods, educating and redirecting the actions of the public for the benefit of all.

Conservation Officer (CO) Wes Kille was selected as the National Wild Turkey Federation's 2012 New Jersey Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. CO Kille was hired as a Conservation Officer in 2002. Prior to his employment with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement he was a Sea Isle City police officer. He graduated from the Cape May Police Academy in the fall of 2002. He has worked his entire career in southern Gloucester County. CO Kille graduated Stockton College in 2000 with a degree in Environmental Science.

CO Kille was nominated for and received this award because of his outstanding work during the 2012 Spring Turkey Season. He spent hours of patrol time throughout Gloucester County scouting on foot for potential violations. His diligence paid off and resulted in the apprehension of 13 illegal turkey hunters. CO Kille charged seven hunters for hunting turkey by the aid of bait, three without the proper turkey permits, two for possession of untagged or registered birds, one hunter for the possession of loaded firearm within 450' of a residence and trespass for the purpose of hunting.

The NWTF also recognized Conservation Officer Steve Sutton, in 2011, for his outstanding work with the Wildlife Enforcement Officer of the Year. (See the NWTF news release.) In 2012, CO Sutton was selected as the New Jersey Conservation Officer of the year and was presented with an award from the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association as well as an award from Shikar Safari International. Steve Joined the Bureau of Law Enforcement, in 2006 and graduated from the Morris County Police Academy in December, 2007.

CO Sutton received a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Law Enforcement from Unity College in 2005, supported by a four-year scholarship from the National Wild Turkey Federation. He joined the Division in 2005 as a seasonal technician for the Deer Project, moving to the Bureau of Law Enforcement in 2006 as a seasonal technician. In April, 2007, Steve Sutton was hired as a full time Conservation Officer.

In August, 2008, CO Sutton received a Distinguished Service Award from Bureau of Law Enforcement. Along with this award he also was recognized with a Lifesaving Award from NAWEOA, a Heroism Award from DEP and a Valor Award from State PBA. In 2011 CO Sutton received the National Wild Turkey Federation award for, Law Enforcement Officer of The Year.

Lt. Doug Applegate, a colleague and former supervisor of CO Sutton, would describe him best as a friend, to not only the resource but fellow law enforcement officers and the sporting public. One of the most poignant attributes Steve has is fairness while in the field enforcing the law and the ability to distinguish accurately the deliberate violator from the unintentional. To be the Conservation Officer of the Year, and most importantly an effective Conservation Officer, you must "live" the life, it is a total commitment and Steve, "lives it every single day".

Bureau of Law Enforcement

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: April 24, 2013