Shikar-Safari Club International Named FWC Officer Michael Rice 2019 Wildlife Officer of the Year
By Space Coast Daily // February 21, 2020
annual award honors state officer whose efforts show outstanding performance
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Shikar-Safari Club International named Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Michael Rice its 2019 Wildlife Officer of the Year during the Commission meeting in Tallahassee.
Shikar-Safari Club International is a conservation-based organization that presents awards annually to wildlife law enforcement officers in all states, provinces, and territories in the United States and Canada.
The annual award honors a state officer whose efforts show outstanding performance and achievement among sworn conservation law enforcement personnel.
“It is an honor to stand with Officer Specialist Rice today as he receives this prestigious award,” said Col. Curtis Brown. “He is a fine young man and an asset to our Division who displays what it means to be an ambassador of conservation.”
Originally from St. Lucie County, Officer Rice now patrols Marion County where he shares his time and passion for outdoor activities, especially with his region’s youth.
He excels as a Field Training Officer, serves as the Northeast Regional Intoxilizer 8000 Inspector and worked to become the area’s first Drug Recognition Expert.
In 2018, Officer Rice teamed up with fellow FWC officers to assist with the Halpata Youth Deer and Turkey Hunts where the officers donated several hours of their personal time to teach kids about hunting and help them set up blinds. Officer Rice also volunteers at the Ocala Outdoor Adventure Camp, teaches boating safety at Marion County kids summer camp and frequently conducts hunter education courses.
In addition to his outreach efforts, Officer Rice has devoted considerable time and effort to crime prevention through his participation and organization of targeted enforcement details, eight of them in 2018.
He performed six resource details in the Ocala National Forest and two details on the water enforcing Boating Under the Influence laws.
Throughout 2018, he also closed numerous felony dumping cases, including one involving multiple charges relating to the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine. He was awarded the FWC’s Lifesaving Award in 2018 for actions which led to the rescue of a woman who did not resurface after a fall overboard from a PWC.
“This is a great honor and I’m blessed to be asked to represent the FWC throughout the year. I strive each day to do the best that I can with helping to protect Florida’s natural resources and provide safety to our public. This achievement could not have been possible without the help and support of my family, fellow officers and my supervisors,” said Rice.
To learn more about becoming an FWC officer, visit JoinFWC.com.
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