BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Victoria Cuba, HNN Intern
A Hawaii Island enforcement officer is the first recipient to receive the Department of Land and Resources' "Officer of the Year" award.
The award was given to James Ridzon, an eight-year veteran of the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). He was assigned to the North District of the Big Island. Rizdon was nominated by his peers and supervisor, who say Rizdon has earned a reputation as an effective investigator and protector of Hawaii's natural and cultural resources.
"He gives his job 100 percent. He's a team a team member," said officer Verl Nakama, a DLNR DOCARE supervisor. "We have a great, great branch and a great division here. If we had more people like him, it would be outstanding."
Over the past weekend, Rizdon helped to crack down on trespassers entering the Kohala Restricted Watershed, or White Road hike. Officials say he demonstrated professionalism during the arrests, treating them with respect and compassion.
Rizdon said that his goal was to always work in conservation resources enforcement.
"It combines my life-long passion for the outdoors with protecting all of the places and resources Hawaii is recognized around the world for," he said.
He will also head to Ontario, Canada later this month, to attend the annual North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers (NAWEOA) conference. The organization focuses on advancing the needs of natural resources and wildlife officers throughout North America.
He will be the first Hawaii Officer of the Year recipient to attend the conference.