The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is proud to announce that Conservation Police Officer James Brooks has been named Conservation Police Officer of the Year for 2011. Brooks joined the DGIF in 2003 after working as a Deputy Sheriff in Tazewell and Russell counties, and serving as a Police Officer in the Town of Richlands.
Officer Brooks is assigned to boat patrols and enforcement over a large area, which includes the Clinch and Holston rivers and Witten, Lincolnshire, Laurel Bed, Hidden Valley and the South Holston lakes and Flannagan Reservoir. Officer Brooks’ outstanding efforts in boating safety and enforcement have resulted in a total of 57 arrests for boating or boating-related offenses. Last season, Brooks conducted 138 boat ramp patrols at 15 boat ramps and participated in nine boating under the influence (BUI) safety checkpoints.
Officer Brooks made 106 arrests on game law violators; charges included felony possession of a firearm, hunting under the influence, spotlighting, hunting deer during closed season, exceeding the limit of deer and turkeys, illegally transporting loaded firearms, trespassing to hunt, and illegal possession and unlawful sale of wildlife.
In addition to his patrol duties, Officer Brooks has coordinated boating safety classes in Tazewell and Washington counties. He has offered boating instruction specifically for Tazewell County deputies and Virginia State Police, which allowed for joint patrols on waterways in Tazewell County. He has worked closely with the fire and rescue departments in Thompson Valley, Tannersville, Cedar Bluff, and Richlands. Furthermore, he participates in boat training for the DGIF Conservation Police Officer Academy recruits. He instructs in officer safety techniques during motor boat operation for safe methods of detection and apprehension of boating under the influence violators. He also assists with instruction on Tactical Boat Boarding.
Officer Brooks’ dedication, integrity, and character all make him an excellent representative of the Department. James annually coordinates the Tazewell County’s Kid’s Fish day at Lake Whitten. This year 370 kids participated with over 750 in total attendance. In addition to his commitment to his own local Kid’s Fishing Day, James assisted with three Kid’s Fishing Days in Russell and Buchanan counties.
Since 2004, James’s commitment to public service has gone beyond his daily duties as a Conservation Police Officer. He has taken on the added responsibility of becoming an adjunct professor at the Southwest Virginia Community College where he teaches game and wildlife laws in the Criminal Justice Program. He is a defensive tactics instructor, a senior hunter education instructor, and a certified boating safety instructor. James regularly leads his District in educational programs conducted.
Officer James Brooks’ work in 2011 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.