News Release

For Immediate Release
Major Ron Henry, (434) 525-7522

NOTE: This news release was distributed on 6/13/2013. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.

Captain John M. Hutchens Receives National Law Enforcement Award

Richmond, VA - The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is proud to announce Conservation Police Captain John M. Hutchens has been named as the 2013 recipient of the Guy Bradley Award. Presented by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Guy Bradley Award is presented to one state agency and one federal agency officer "...whose dedication and public service to protecting the nation's natural resources demonstrates outstanding leadership, excellence in implementation, knowledge, and a lifetime commitment to the field of wildlife law enforcement, and whose actions have advanced the cause of wildlife conservation."

This prestigious lifetime achievement award is given in the spirit of Guy Bradley, the first wildlife law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty while protecting the nation's wildlife in 1905. Captain Hutchens was formally recognized today in front of the DGIF Board by Director Bob Duncan for this great achievement.

Hutchens joined the department in 1972 and was assigned to Greene County as a Game Warden. After being promoted to Sergeant, Hutchens was given the opportunity to become involved in covert operations involving illegal wildlife and fish sales in 1980. Due to the success of the operation, DGIF created a formal Special Operations Unit which focused primarily on the unlawful commercialization of wildlife. In 1983, Hutchens was named as supervisor of that unit and remains in that position to this day. In the 30 years since, Hutchens' leadership of the Special Operations Unit has led to the successful arrest and prosecution of numerous poachers involved in everything from the illegal sale of rockfish and the illegal sale of black bear gallbladders to the illegal importation of dangerous animals into the Commonwealth. In addition to the myriad wildlife related offenses observed by Hutchens in his covert career, he has been exposed to stolen automobiles, stolen guns, automatic weapons, explosives, stolen appliances, illegal whiskey, prostitution, illegal gambling, arson, and illegal drugs. It quickly became apparent to Hutchens that most hardcore wildlife violators were also involved in other illicit activities and his investigations often branched out to allow other state law enforcement agencies to curtail other crimes with his information and assistance.

For the majority of his life, Captain Hutchens has faithfully served the citizens of the Commonwealth by putting his life on the line and infiltrating groups of some very hardcore poaching rings. Due to his more than 30 years covert status, he has never been publicly acknowledged for his contributions and has remained quietly in the background, content that he has made a difference for Virginia's wildlife. Hutchens is still as passionate about wildlife law enforcement today as he was 41 years ago when he began his career. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is honored that Captain Hutchens' selfless dedication and lifetime contributions to the wildlife law enforcement field have been nationally recognized with his presentation of the 2013 Guy Bradley Award.