News Releases

Shikar-Safari honors FWC Officer of the Year Duane North

News Release

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585

(Back to Commission meeting news)

Officer Duane North is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) 2012 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. North, who works in Volusia County in the agency’s Northeast Region, was recognized Thursday by Shikar-Safari Club International during the FWC’s Commission meeting at the Florida Public Safety Institute.

Shikar-Safari 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 fish and wildlife law enforcement personnel.

“It makes me proud to know that people like North are standing up for the traditions and values that are important to us as Floridians,” said Jim Harrison, representative for Shikar-Safari.

North arrested five people for drunk boating or driving in 2011 and cited or arrested numerous violators for felonies and misdemeanors. But, it is not writing tickets that made him an Officer of the Year.

North is an exceptionally well-rounded officer who consistently uses his skills and knowledge to make quality, FWC core-mission cases on land and water, his supervisors say. He inspires teamwork within his and other FWC squads, and with other agencies – local, state and federal. He fully understands the value of educating Florida residents and visitors about the state’s natural resources and boating opportunities, and the laws in place to protect them, and is often the first to step up to participate in outreach and education events.

“Officer North is proving to be one of the FWC’s most talented and capable officers. He has abundant energy and enthusiasm, and demonstrates his passion for being a fish and wildlife officer every day,” said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “We are both fortunate and proud to have an officer of his caliber on the FWC team.”    

North has always had a passion for hunting, the outdoors and law enforcement and dreamed of becoming an FWC officer. He said he reached that goal in 2008 when he was hired as an FWC officer, patrolling the Volusia County portion of the St. Johns River. Prior to joining the FWC, North was a police officer with the Daytona Police Department and a deputy with Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2010, two years after joining the FWC, North transferred to his current position as part of a squad that patrols primarily on land. In his short tenure with the agency, he has become an exemplary officer and a leader among his peers.

Below are a few examples of his work:

  • He arrested an individual who shot a decoy deer in the Tiger Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
  • During a night hunting detail, he and a squad mate apprehended and arrested on felony charges two men who were stealing copper from utility poles in Lake George WMA.
  • North issued citations related to antlerless deer and gopher tortoises, hunting turkey over bait and night hunting.
  • While working a detail in Lake George WMA, he ran the tag of a hunter parked in the WMA. After checking the registered owner for the appropriate licenses, he noticed the subject was hunting with a guest permit associated with a known convicted felon. North then set up surveillance and waited until the convicted felon came out of the woods carrying a modern muzzleloader firearm. The individual was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

North and his wife, Crystal, have three children: Christopher, 10; Matthieu, 4; and Brianna, almost 2. He enjoys the outdoors and likes to hunt and fish. But mostly, he says, he loves spending time with his wife and children.

FWC Facts:
Florida's Lake Trafford is the southernmost black crappie fishery in the United States.

Learn More at AskFWC