AUSTIN — Wood County Game Warden Kurt Kelley was recognized as the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers’ Texas Officer of the Year at Thursday’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith presented the award for Kelley’s outstanding work as a law enforcement officer.
The Midwest association, which encourages close cooperation between natural resource law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada to further professionalize their law enforcement activity, recognized Kelley recently at their 71st annual meeting in Duluth, Minn.
Kelley, who started his game warden career in 1999, has maintained a minimum case load of more than 300 cases per year for the last 14 years. Additionally, he averages over 400 boat hours every year, routinely leading his district in all wildlife-fisheries cases.
One case Kelley solved was one of the largest deer poaching cases in Texas, which involved 30 illegally poached deer and four suspects. More than 500 charges were filed on the violators, and all four were convicted. Penalties totaled $41,000 in fines, 3,000 hours of community service and 12 years of prison time.
Most recently, Kelley coordinated the water safety enforcement effort during the Toyota Bass Classic and Concert on Lake Fork. In addition, Kelley presents numerous information and education programs in Wood County. These programs include hunter education classes, school programs and sporting group presentations. He also coordinated and managed one of the largest youth fishing events in the state, with more than 300 kids in attendance.
Kelley’s other accomplishments include Master Peace Officer Certification, TCOLE Instructor, Firearms Instructor, ALERRT training and Patrol Rifle course completion.