FWC’s Lee Lawshe Honored As National Officer of the Year
By Space Coast Daily // September 28, 2014
AFWA Made Up of Conservation Agencies From 56 U.S. States and Territories As Well As Provinces In Canada and Mexico
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI – At a ceremony Wednesday in St. Louis, the state of Florida made a name for itself in the realm of conservation.
Officer Lee Lawshe of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was selected from others nationwide as Officer of the Year. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies made the selection.
AFWA is made up of the conservation agencies from 56 U.S. states and territories as well as provinces in Canada and Mexico. The association seeks to ensure healthy fish and wildlife resources throughout North America.
“This is a great honor for the FWC,” said Nick Wiley, FWC executive director. “Officer Lawshe is a class act, and we are proud to have him representing Florida.”
As a member agency, the FWC does its part to conserve Florida’s fish, wildlife and natural resources. This means patrolling all the state’s waterways and lands, including state parks and state forests. As an FWC officer, Lawshe is on the front lines protecting the environment as well as the people who enjoy it.
“I accepted this award on behalf of all conservation officers across the country,” Lawshe said. “I know how hard we all work to protect the nation’s resources.”
Lawshe’s actions may seem ordinary to him, but he stood out from his peers.
Last year, Lawshe, who works in St. Johns County, rescued a man missing for days in a swamp, apprehended a suspect during a manhunt, caught various people illegally harvesting redfish, trespassing and harming gopher tortoises, and helped with a murder investigation.
For his exceptional performance, Lawshe was named the FWC’s Officer of the Year, which put him in the running for other awards.
“The number of incidents Officer Lawshe has been involved with is truly impressive,” said Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “But while those accomplishments are great, it is his attitude and humble demeanor that set him apart.”
In addition to the cases mentioned above, and others, Lawshe reached nearly 3,000 people in 2013 through hunter education classes, elementary school demonstrations, fairs, parades and other events.
He uses outreach events to educate children and adults about conservation and to spread the message about what the FWC does. But he doesn’t limit his positive influence to official events. He uses countless interactions with the public each day to make a difference in his community and the state.
“His efforts lead to better protection of America’s people and natural resources,” Adams said.
Lawshe’s hard work also helps make public lands a better place to hunt, fish and recreate. He has addressed complaints from the public about illegal fishing activity, deer poaching and placing bait on wildlife management areas.
“Officer Lawshe also frequently works with other law enforcement agencies, lending his skills at working in the woods,” Adams said.
In 2013, Lawshe assisted the Florida Highway Patrol in finding a driver who had fled a traffic accident and was hiding in the woods, helped the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office apprehend a suspect during a manhunt in a wooded area, searched for evidence in the woods regarding a burnt vehicle case and helped recover a body in a murder investigation. He has also instructed two local SWAT teams in man-tracking.
“We’re fortunate to have Officer Lawshe in Florida,” Adams said. “He provides exceptional service on a daily basis and his recent award puts him in a position to set an example for others across the nation.”
Lawshe comes from a long line of outdoorsmen. After serving in the U.S. Army, his passion for the outdoors led him to pursue a career with the FWC. He began work in Martin County in 2008 and now lives in St. Johns County with his wife and two sons.