Lansing, MI -(Ammoland.com)- Michigan conservation officer Gregory Patten, a 28-year veteran of the Department of Natural Resources, recently was named the 2013 Shikar-Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year by Shikar-Safari International.
The international hunting organization is involved in such recognitions of key officials in natural resources agencies across the United States and Canada.
“I want to commend Officer Patten on receiving the 2013 Shikar-Safari International Officer of the Year Award,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Greg is a role-model officer and a great asset to the DNR. Greg is very deserving of this honor.”
Officer Patten was nominated for the award by his supervisor, Sgt. John Jurcich. Patten accepted the award from a representative of Safari Club International at the June 12 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing.
Based in Muskegon County, Patten has been with the DNR since 1986 and has a reputation as an all-around outstanding conservation officer. Jurcich noted that Patten was particularly known for his marine patrol activities in west Michigan. Patten is responsible for patrolling an area of Lake Michigan, several major rivers, drowned river-mouth lakes, numerous trout streams, a heavily used state game area and several tracts of federal land.
Patten places a strong emphasis on marine enforcement throughout the year and works on marine safety compliance encompassing several different groups of boaters; everything from paddle sports to large pleasure boats. He conducts frequent water patrols using one of the DNR’s recently acquired Safe Boats for patrol in all weather conditions, often working in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and county marine patrols.
Patten has been a member of the International Association of Marine Investigators after completing both Basic and Advanced Marine schools in 1999 and has participated in the investigation of several marine accidents and fatalities.
Working with different divisions of the DNR, Patten is known for his expertise not only on marine enforcement but on hunting regulations as well. He has assisted the Wildlife Division on illegal tree cutting on west Michigan state game and wildlife areas. He frequently assists with off-road vehicle patrols at Silver Lake State Park and regularly participates in commercial fishing enforcement efforts on Lake Michigan.
Patten was one of the first conservation officers to start investigating illegal dumping on state land, marking dump sites with a GPS unit, and has successfully prosecuted violators resulting in several cleanups, including two sites that had more than 5,000 tires.
He also successfully led an investigation that started with a bear sighting in Muskegon, and resulted in a two-year process to revoke licenses for possession and wildlife rehabilitation for a Muskegon County facility from which the bear had escaped. Patten uncovered several other violations at the facility, including inhumane treatment and neglect of animals and unlawful possession of wildlife. Numerous animals at the facility needed to be relocated and, working with several volunteer groups, Patten was able to resolve the situation effectively utilizing the legal system to pursue prosecution.
Patten assisted Wildlife Division on several occasions in Muskegon County to investigate captive cervid facilities. Three of these investigations led to successful prosecution of numerous violations and decommissioning of one facility. Patten continues to monitor and enforce captive cervid regulations, taxidermy and deer processing facilities to assure compliance with laws pertaining to Chronic Wasting Disease.
“Officer Patten is always ready to lend a hand where needed,” said Jurcich. “He is an officer who supervisors can depend on to complete assignments on time, correctly and with great detail. He is the ‘go to’ person for charter boat and marine issues.”
Patten was raised in Montcalm County and, after completing high school there, he attended Central Michigan University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in wildlife. He began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a Stanton City police officer, later joining the Muskegon Police Department as a patrolman from 1982 to August of 1986, when he joined the DNR as a conservation officer.
About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.