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Justus is Wildlife Officer of the Year

Senior conservation officer Charlie Justus, Caldwell, has been selected Idaho's "Wildlife Officer of the Year" by Shikar Safari International. Shikar Safari International is a worldwide organization of hunters that supports a wide range of conservation causes with emphasis on wildlife law enforcement. The organization recognizes outstanding law enforcement officers in the United States and around the world. Idaho's first equipment for analyzing DNA as a tool in enforcing poaching laws was given to Fish and Game by Shikar Safari in the early 1990s. In nominating Justus for the award, Fish and Game Director Rod Sando cited Justus for his participation in youth events including "Get Hooked on FishingÑNot Drugs," "Tip a CopÑSpecial Olympics," "Cops for KidsÑChristmas," "CAST" (fishing clinics for handicapped children) and frequent presentations on fish and wildlife for local grade schools and health fairs. Justus also volunteers as a field training officer who instructs new conservation officers in all aspects of the job including arrest techniques. "A result of your excellent communication skills is the good rapport you have developed with the landowners, sportsmen, and educational institutions in your patrol area and also with the Canyon County Sheriff's Office and Prosecutor. Your hard work has paved the way for your fellow officers in regard to officer safety, training, and general good will," Sando said. Justus accomplished all that while serving one of the busiest patrol areas in Idaho. In the past year, he checked more than 1,800 licenses and detected 342 violations, two to three times the regional and statewide averages. He also assisted fish and wildlife managers with projects and surveys as well as helping with development of regulations. "Because of your professional demeanor and ability to apply the law in a fair manner, you are an excellent ambassador for wildlife law enforcement," Sando said. Justus has been with Idaho Fish and Game since 1991.