Catching poachers and other wildlife violators often involved lengthy criminal investigations and require diligence and dedication on behalf of conservation rangers. Cpl. Michael Crawley, representing Washington and Johnson counties, was named Investigative Ranger of the Year for demonstrating tenacity and excellence in his work, which included a complex case with more than 18 violations in 2011.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division names an Investigative Range of the Year annually.

`I commend Cpl. Crawley for his drive and continued efforts to apprehend violators who damaged our natural resources,` says Col. Eddie Henderson, chief of law enforcement for Wildlife Resources Division. `His commitment to the investigative work required for this case, as well as continuing to do all other required tasks, shows great multi-tasking skills and dedication.`

Cpl. Crawley’s investigation involved a poaching case in Washington County. The case began with a complaint about trespassing on private property. Assisting Cpl. Crawley was Storm, a canine who helped in the detection of evidence, including an injured deer and tire tracks. Over the next few weeks, Crawley gathered information on the suspected violator, and in January 2011, served the suspect with an arrest warrant.

    The poacher was charged with 18 total violations including:

  • possession of illegally taken wildlife
  • taking game above the bag limit
  • violation of a crop damage permit
  • additional charges from other agencies.

He was fined $2,500 and loss of hunting privileges for two years.

Other WRD conservation rangers nominated for the award for their outstanding investigative work: Sgt. John VanLandingham, RFC Josh Chambers, Cpl. Lynn Stanford, RFC Tim Hutto and Cpl. Phillip Scott.