The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is proud to announce Conservation Police Officer Joseph P. Williams has been named Conservation Police Officer of the Year for 2012. Officer Williams joined the Department in 2007 and was originally assigned to Franklin County. In 2011, he earned a transfer to Roanoke County. His current assignment includes enforcement responsibilities in Bedford and Botetourt counties, the cities of Roanoke and Salem as well as patrolling the Roanoke River, James River and Smith Mountain Lake.
Joe came to DGIF with several years of valuable law enforcement and community relations experience. His professional career has included service in a wide variety of law enforcement agencies and responsibilities beginning with campus police duties at Hollins University, to small town police work at Waynesboro Police Department, to larger city police responsibilities at Salem Police Department. Officer Williams passes along the knowledge and expertise he learned as a street patrol officer to his co-workers while looking to experienced conservation police officers to develop and hone his hunting, fishing, and boating enforcement skills. His positive attitude is contagious to both his peers and the public he serves.
Officer Williams understands the importance of public safety. His waterway and highway enforcement efforts over the past year netted boating under the influence, driving under the influence and reckless driving violations. In addition, his concentrated effort at curtailing illegal hunting activity resulted in numerous charges of attempting to take deer at night with the aid of lights and hunting during closed season. While excelling in his law enforcement services, he also does an excellent job in advancing the DGIF mission by participating in numerous programs, educational talks, and exhibits. In 2012, Williams participated in eight hunter education classes and three boater education courses in his assigned county.
Over the past year and a half, Officer Williams has become well known to the dispatchers in Roanoke County and has become a go-to person on issues related to problem wildlife, poaching, and fish-related topics. Because of his willingness to educate and assist, the Emergency Communications Training Coordinator requested him to teach at their basic dispatcher school. Joe gladly accepted the offer and taught a two hour block of instruction. Officer Williams continues to use opportunities such as this to build law enforcement relationships throughout the Roanoke Valley.
As more people move into rural areas throughout Roanoke County, nuisance bear problems continue to be a debated topic. While there have been previous meetings with Bureau staff and Roanoke City / County officials concerning bear conflicts, Officer Williams realized a need for a roundtable discussion. Williams organized a meeting with agency staff, Roanoke County officials, and the Roanoke County Chief of Police to discuss black bear issues. The cooperation of several agencies to address these issues was very well received.
Officer Williams seeks to enhance his knowledge through continuing education. He attended the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Field Sobriety Test Instructor Transition Course (SFST). As one of only two instructors in the Commonwealth of Virginia, he volunteered to teach the new SFST transition course to all conservation police officers. This selflessness, desire for training improvement, and concern for public safety is a testimony to Officer Williams’ pursuit of excellence.
Officer Joseph Williams’ work in 2012 has set the highest of standards for a Virginia Conservation Police Officer. His dedication, work ethic, professionalism, and positive attitude shine through as he performs his work enforcing wildlife, fishing and boating laws and promoting safety and education. Both the Department and citizens of the Commonwealth have benefitted greatly from his commitment to duty and outstanding efforts.