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Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Wildlife Officer of the Year
Special to the Post | 4/16/12
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Bob Thompson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Acting Chief of Wildlife Law Enforcement, was selected as the 2011 John D. Hart Wildlife Officer of the Year by his fellow wildlife officers in tribute to his outstanding service to the agency and the wildlife resource.

Thompson, who joined the Colorado Division of Wildlife in 1980, was presented with the award by Director Rick Cables on March 8 at the agency's annual Law Enforcement In-Service Training in Colorado Springs. The Division of Wildlife merged with Colorado State Parks in 2011 to become Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

"I've always been struck by the passion and dedication shown by Colorado's wildlife officers," said Cables. "Bob and his fellow Hart award nominees exemplify this great conservation tradition in how they go about their work every day."

"The thing that really makes it special is that it was voted on by my peers," said Thompson. "It truly is a great honor."

Named after the legendary Colorado wildlife officer who rose from game warden to Assistant Director during the first half of the 20th Century, the John D. Hart Award is the most prestigious recognition that the agency bestows on field personnel. During his career, Hart personified the Division's no-nonsense approach to protecting Colorado wildlife while also serving as a wildlife manager and ambassador of hunting and fishing. He retired as Assistant Director in 1959.

Thompson worked as a District Wildlife Manager in the rugged Middle Park district for 25 years, fulfilling all of the wildlife management and law enforcement responsibilities of a district wildlife manager while taking on additional assignments as an instructor of defensive tactics, firearms and physical fitness. Thompson introduced scenario-based training that has since become the model for the agency.  He also had the agency's first Wildlife Service Dog, a German shepherd that was once one of the top police dogs in the nation.

Since becoming Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement in 2005, Thompson has overseen the agency's major law enforcement investigations, coordinated the agency's Operation Game Thief tip line program and participated in most of the major wildlife crime takedown operations.  He serves on the International Association of Natural Resource Crime Stoppers, the Midwest Chief's Association and is Colorado's representative for the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. 

Other officers nominated in 2011 included Area Wildlife Managers Patt Dorsey of Durango and Liza Hunholz of Denver, District Wildlife Managers Mike Crosby of Hot Sulphur Springs, Josh Dilley of Walden, Frank McGee of Palisade, Chris Parmenter of Gunnison and Kevin Wright of Aspen, as well as Investigator Eric Harper. Each was nominated by their peers in recognition of their dedication, hard work and commitment to Colorado's wildlife.
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