Written by Molly Mayock, Series Producer
Most people think of Fish & Game wardens solely as “wildlife cops” and protectors of natural resources. Most people also assume wardens only deal with wildlife cases that arise in rural areas. Mountains. Rivers. Your basic “field & stream” situations. But wardens do so much more than that… and they do it in cities, suburbs and on oceans, too.
Wardens are 100% cops (“peace officers” is the official terminology) with 100% of the same skills, training and responsibilities as all other law enforcement officers, but with a lot more training in biology, environmental and wildlife studies. While we’ve been in production on Wild Justice, Fish & Game wardens have been called in to assist in all sorts of functions by other law enforcement agencies.
In Fresno, where recently there have been more than fifty inner city gang shootings, the wardens joined 100 other police officers to storm houses and do parole searches for weapons, drugs and other illegal contraband.
The US Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force got the expert help of Fish & Game wardens when they surrounded a remote mountain compound of a fugitive who tried to stab his wife (and who is now romantically involved with his wife’s sister).
Sometimes Fish & Game wardens are the only “badge” for hundreds of miles in remote areas. They are often first responders in emergency situations, providing first aid and rescue functions. In one tragic situation, an elderly couple’s car crashed off a cliff into a raging river. Warden Kyle Kroll was first on-scene and heroically tended to both of the wounded victims and stabilized their teetering vehicle until paramedics and other rescue agencies arrived 40 minutes later and airlifted the married couple to the hospital. The wife survived, but we were deeply saddened to learn that the husband later passed away.
Wild Justice is a law enforcement series that follows the dedicated wardens of the California Department of Fish & Game as they protect and preserve the state’s wild life resources and environment from poachers and other violators. Tune in to Wild Justice, tonight: Monday, May 21st at 9p.m. et/pt.