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CDFW seing fewer applicants to be wildlife officers
EUREKA- Fewer applicants are applying and qualifying to join the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Officer Academy.
The department is currently recruiting those interested in a career as a wildlife officer. Wardens take an oath to protect the state's wildlife and uphold federal and state laws. Officers, as peace officers, they have the authority to enforce all California laws, such as Vehicle Code and Penal Code violations.
"It always feels good to do something right for the wildlife, because we are the voice of California wildlife," said AJ Bolton, a warden with CDFW who has worked in the career for eight years after serving with the Eureka Police Department.
Bolton said he is surprised so few candidates are applying. He said the job is always different and exciting.
"I never know what my calls are going to bring or where I'm going to go," he said.
Bolton's area extends north of Eureka, to the bay and all the way to east to Dinsmore. Thursday at 1:30 a.m. Bolton got the call to investigate an illegal deer poaching in Kneeland.
Unlike other law enforcement jobs, wardens, he said see the investigation from the beginning to the end. Investigating the case, interviewing witnesses, filling a report with the District Attorney's office and ultimately testifying in court.
"We have a very tough job," he said. "But when those things come together, I think it's more satisfying just because we've had to do it from start to finish."
Bolton said he feels that it is important work, because sometimes, wildlife officers are the only voice for wildlife.
Successful candidates who apply will take a 31-week academy and field train for 19-weeks.