OUR 40th ANNUAL CONFERENCE
North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association
In 1980, a contingent of fifteen Game Wardens from the United States and Canada met in Great Falls, Montana to establish an International Association of Game Wardens. These highly motivated wardens met under the pretense to build a working cooperative for disseminating information regarding the unlawful harvest of wildlife. The political boundary known as the US / Canadian border wasn’t deterring wildlife thieves from committing atrocities against North America’s valued wildlife resources. Through diligent investigations, wardens from US and Canada found they were dealing with the same violators on both sides of the border who were repeatedly committing serious wildlife crimes.
The inaugural meeting in 1980 gave birth to the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA). The association’s founding fathers comprised of Lew Ramstead, John Fallows, Syl Pompu, John Edwards, Richard Hoar, Tom Bivins, John Babcock, Ed Comly, Stan Peck, Jerry Baltazor, Lee Frost, Kit Christensen, Dennis Almquest, Chuck Oakly and Chuck Thornton laid the ground work by writing the association’s constitution accompanied with by-laws that would govern the actions of the Executive Board.
In 1981, along with the definition defining who would be eligible to be a member, annual dues, meetings, conferences, structure, policies, awards including many other items were established and formally adopted operating under Robert’s Rules of Order.
In 1982, the first of the now forty year tradition, commenced in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Following the inaugural NAWEOA Summer Conference, several US States and Canadian Provinces placed their bids to host the annual conference. A private gathering in July consisting of hundreds of Game Wardens sharing information, training opportunities and comradery would only flourish every year thereafter. At the time, jurisdictions hosting bids would actually have to go to a vote by the attending membership due to the number of interested jurisdictions. Mostly sponsored by the host State or Province Officer’s Associations, many gained support from their State or Provincial Agency to provide a one-of-akind experience for their game warden guests. All attendees would have to be a regular member of NAWEOA as individual members or included in a group membership sponsored by their officer’s association. Even though every North American State, Provincial, and Federal Wildlife Agencies whose “Lead Role” as the primary law enforcement entity to enforce wildlife and /or fishery laws/regulations, qualify to host the NAWEOA conference, some jurisdictions have hosted the annual event more than once, whereas others have yet to make the commitment.