The Conservation Officer Service and BC Parks have finalized a joint working agreement on a pilot project involving BC Parks Area Supervisor Steven Hodgson. Along with Steve’s primary duties as the BC Parks Area Supervisor, he has been officially appointed as a BC Conservation Officer.
This pilot project has been in the works since Steve graduated at the top of his class, from the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy (WCLEA) in Hinton AB, December of 2014. The academy trains new conservation officers at a four month depot that is supported by four provinces and the Yukon Territory.
The Conservation Officer Service has given Steven full appointments, including SPC (Special Constable Status), to respond to not only human wildlife conflicts but also enforcement related complaints that are generally handled from the Williams Lake Conservation Office.
Since January of 2015, Steven has been fulfilling a portion of his role as a Conservation Officer by attending human wildlife conflicts, giving the CO Service a qualified officer that can respond immediately to these emergent situations. Due to the success of his abilities in those responses the full pilot was instituted on July 5th, 2016.
The Conservation Officer Service recognized the importance of having a qualified representative in the Bella Coola Valley and in discussions with BC Parks, this pilot project was created. This new and first of its kind position will support the Valley residents for immediate responses to all complaints under the mandate of the Conservation Officer Service. This position will also be a valuable resource for the RCMP, DFO and the First Nations Community in the valley.
On July 5th, 2016, Deputy Chief of the CO Service Chris Doyle presented Steven Hodgson with his Conservation Officer badge. In support was Regional Director Jeff Leahy of the Thompson Cariboo Region, BC Parks.
The Conservation Officer Service and BC Parks are fortunate to have a dedicated officer like Steven Hodgson to represent BC Parks and the COS by taking on this new role supporting the residents of the Bella Coola Valley.