The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is proud to announce that Master Officer Charlie Mullins has been named Game Warden of the Year for 2007. The honor is the highest tribute presented by the agency to its law enforcement personnel. A peer review committee comprised of past recipients of the award makes the selection from nominees from each of the Department’s five regions.
Master Officer Charlie Mullins will also have the distinction of being the last official “Game Warden of the Year.” In future years the recognition will be designated the “Conservation Police Officer of the Year” award because effective July 1, 2007, VDGIF sworn personnel are no longer called “game wardens” but “conservation police officers.” Governor Tim Kaine signed the bill into law this past spring following the 2007 Session of the General Assembly. Virginia conservation police officers have full police authority, however their efforts focus on enforcing the Commonwealth’s wildlife and boating laws. The name change is intended to make the full scope of the officers’ authority clear to people they encounter during their daily patrols of Virginia’s fields, forests and waters.
Officer Mullins began his career with VDGIF more than 23 years ago in Tazewell County. He served in both Tazewell and Alleghany Counties as a game warden for six years until his promotion to sergeant in July of 1990 which took him to another assignment in the state serving as area leader in a work area that included Smith Mountain Lake. In February 1993, he transferred back to southwest Virginia taking an assignment as area leader for six counties from the North Carolina state line to the West Virginia state line.
During the course of his career he has demonstrated a great dedication to the Department, its mission and his community. He has shown initiative as a leader, not only with in his district but also in his participation in agency training, search and rescue, and dive operations. He played a key role in the Department’s Defensive Tactics Cadre, serving as chief instructor from 1994 until 1998 during which time the cadre developed defensive tactics training that continues to be part of the core curriculum of the VDGIF Law Enforcement Academy. He has taught defensive tactics to 55 agencies including sheriff’s departments in Bedford, New Kent and Giles Counties, and police departments in Pearisburg, Radford and Virginia Tech. Additionally, he has instructed at five law enforcement academies in Virginia including the VDGIF Basic Law Enforcement Academy, the Southwest Virginia Police Academy, the Central Virginia Law Enforcement Academy, New River Law Enforcement Academy and the Virginia State Police Academy. In addition, he was an original member of the Marine Firearms and Tactics training cadre, a program that continues to be part of the Academy’s basic training.
Officer Charlie Mullins volunteered for two deployments to Mississippi in the months after Hurricane Katrina devastated that region. During his second deployment, the Virginia State Police requested that he serve as the supervisor of the task force that included 45 officers from five agencies.
In addition to the training he provides, he has taken numerous courses over the years in topics ranging from EMS First Responder, Drug Enforcement Training, Wildlife Law Enforcement Decoy Training, Kinesic Interview and Interrogation School, Boat Safety Instructor Class, Personal Watercraft Instructor Course, ITT Night Vision Equipment Training, P.A.D.I. Open Water SCUBA Diver Course, VA Department of Emergency Management Incident Command Training, All Terrain Vehicle Safety Course, Tactical Man Tracking Level 2 Course, and Fundamentals of Supervisors School at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Officer Mullins is active in his community, working with his church, local civic organizations, local schools, and various sportsmen’s organizations. He participates in numerous exhibits and fish and wildlife educational activities. His efforts in outreach are a credit to the Department and reflect the true intent of VDGIF’s mission.
It is the mission of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation; and to promote safety for persons and property in connection with these outdoor activities.