The North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association, or NAWEOA , kicked off its annual conference in Cheyenne Monday.
The opening ceremonies included a roll call of jurisdictions across the United States and Canada, and a tribute to fallen officers. Sergeant Edward Bollman, a conservation officer from Indiana who died trying to save a friend who fell in an icy pond, was recognized with the playing of taps, a riderless horse, and a gun salute.
Around 470 people are attending the conference, including game wardens and conservation officers from across the United States and Canada.
Conference Chairman Jason Sherwood is a senior game warden based in Laramie. During the week, officers take part in trainings, but also social events, which Sherwood said are key, because getting to know other officers around the country actually makes them better at their jobs.
“Something as simple as finding a poacher that’s already left the state, and needing somebody in New Brunswick to go do an interview, you know who to call. And so you know somebody rather than calling your dispatch to call their dispatch and who knows how many layers of administration it has to get approved by. It just speeds things up drastically when you know directly who to call,” said Sherwood.
Sherwod said he is also excited to show off Wyoming.
“We’ve got some unique experience with backcountry patrol that even some of the Canadian officers don’t deal with remoteness that we do. Some of those guys that do it’s by boat or different modes of travel than horseback. Often we’re kind of a special group that, you know ‘it’s the Wyoming guys.’ And so to bring everybody here and show them Wyoming is really special to us,” he said
This is the first time the conference has been held in Wyoming since 1990. It runs through Thursday afternoon.