News Releases

FWC honors Steve Wayne as 2016 Investigator of the Year

News Release

Friday, September 09, 2016

Media contact: Rob Klepper, 850-617-9666, Robert.Klepper@MyFWC.com

Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/29561368525/in/album-72157672450502951/ External Website

Today, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recognized Investigator Steve Wayne as its 2016 Investigator of the Year during the Commission meeting in St. Augustine.

The annual award honors an FWC investigator whose efforts show outstanding performance and achievement among investigators, including captive wildlife cases, overt and covert investigations, surveillance, and wildlife trafficking. Investigator Wayne’s numerous achievements in 2015 show his dedication to this integral aspect of the FWC’s mission.

 “Investigator Wayne has really gone above and beyond. He has made some incredible cases and has been instrumental in advancing the FWC’s port inspection program. This important program is a vital tool to curbing illegal wildlife trafficking – a $20 billion per year industry that undermines legal businesses and jeopardizes public safety. His work has strengthened our ability to successfully combat this activity,” said Maj. Gregg Eason, FWC’s investigations section leader. “I’m honored to have him representing our section and our agency.”

Wayne is assigned to the FWC’s Northeast region, covering 12 counties from St. Johns to Indian River on the east coast and west over to Sumter. He began his law enforcement career in 1991 as a wildlife officer with the then-Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, and was the first port investigator assigned to the agency. He has guided the FWC’s port investigations program success and expansion, and has been instrumental in making a large number of important cases dealing with the illegal import/export of fish and wildlife, including a two-year, multi-agency effort to investigate a case that caused more than $1 million in damages.

“Florida’s ports are the front lines of an ongoing war between law enforcement and those who would illegally import or export illegal fish and wildlife. Most Floridians are not aware that the illegal importation and exportation of wildlife through Florida’s ports is a significant and growing issue. The Florida Legislature recently added more funds to enable us to increase our efforts in Florida’s ports, and we certainly appreciate that support for this important mission,” said Eason.

Investigator Wayne has served the FWC as a field training officer, man tracking instructor, port investigations instructor, boating under the influence instructor, airboat operation instructor, and has attended and graduated from the Florida Leadership Academy. He is active in his community and volunteers as a board member for the National Association of Chiefs of Police at the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, which provides family support programs to officers permanently disabled in the line of duty. Earlier this year, Investigator Wayne was awarded the Investigator of the Year Award from the State Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association, honoring the best and brightest in Florida’s law enforcement community.



FWC Facts:
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the official state reptile of Florida.

Learn More at AskFWC