Behind the Badge
District Game Warden Alan Howard
In this job, it seems at some time you are always working with an adjacent warden.
It might be while patrolling on a lake, doing an investigation or serving a search warrant.
I do recall a case working with another warden where we had a complaint of a pheasant that was possibly taken illegally a couple of days earlier.
Not the crime of the century but something we were going to address.
The violation had taken place in the other wardens’ district, so it was going to be his case.
We had no pheasant, no empty shotgun shells, the witness wanted to remain anonymous, and the list went on.
We didn’t really have much to go on.
Since I was in his area, we devised a “strategic plan” on the interview we were going to have with the possible violator.
We would have to go to the individual’s residence and see if we could get something out of the interview process.
Sometimes you have a great deal of difficulty getting information from an interview because people will lie and never confess to anything, even if you have video evidence or photos of them doing the illegal activity.
Every time you interview someone, you can use it as a learning experience and usually can take away something different to use as an interviewer.
We arrived at the individual’s residence, exited the vehicle and knocked on the door but no one answered.
It didn’t seem like anybody was home except for some shady dogs running around the yard.
Just as we were getting back to the vehicle the suspect came out of the door.
We went back to the doorway and the other warden said, “yea, we were going to ask you about a pheasant.”
The suspects first words out of his mouth were, “Ya, I did it, I figured you guys would show up at some point.”
It was as if the Gods spoke to him and gave this individual a conscience.
As a warden, that almost never happens, a confession without getting to the second question.
The individual said the pheasant has been in the back since he shot it, because he had been busy at work and never got time to clean it.
Astonished at his truthfulness, we were able to give the individual a warning on one of the charges but did cite him for the illegal pheasant.
I sarcastically told the other warden after the short interview, “I’m sure glad I came along to learn how he did interviews.”