Victoria/Chilliwack – Twenty new conservation officers were sworn in Thursday in Victoria, and will begin their postings this fall throughout British Columbia.
One of those officers will be en route to Chilliwack.
New resources are also being added to locations with the highest need.
“We recognize the need for additional conservation officers to help protect our natural resources and lessen human-wildlife conflicts. For too long, there has been a lack of frontline conservation officers, and communities have suffered the consequences,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We are taking action to put more boots on the ground, so all British Columbians can benefit from the important work conservation officers do every day.”
Upon successful completion of training, conservation officers will be based in various locations throughout B.C., including several in newly created positions in:
- Grand Forks
- Bella Coola
- Port McNeil
- Haida Gwaii
- North Fraser zone (two positions)
Remaining conservation officers are slated to fill posts in Quesnel, Terrace, Creston, Prince George, Merritt, Fort St. John and the Lower Mainland (two positions).
“More conservation officers on the ground mean more eyes and ears to respond to complaints, and to educate the public, prevent human-wildlife conflicts and protect our natural resources,” said Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS). “I am proud of the hard work our conservation officers do across the province, and look forward to the latest contingent of new officers serving their communities.”
Conservation officers work on a zone-coverage basis, where officers respond to complaints and concerns anywhere in the zone. The COS considers several factors when determining where any new conservation officers were posted, including officer safety, call volume, zone coverage and geographic location.
These new faces will fill existing vacancies, new positions and areas where retirements are imminent. Recruits will start training at the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy in May 2018.
The hiring of additional conservation officers gives a boost to COS staffing levels, and will bring the total number of conservation officers in communities around the province to 160.