News Release: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee
He has rescued a man missing for days in a swamp, apprehended a suspect during a manhunt, caught people illegally harvesting redfish, trespassing and harming gopher tortoises, and helped with a murder investigation. And all of that was just in 2013.
For his exceptional performance, Officer Lee Lawshe was named the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Officer of the Year. Lawshe, who works in St. Johns County, will represent the FWC throughout 2014 at various events.
“The number of cases Officer Lawshe has been involved with is truly impressive,” said Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “But while his accomplishments are great, it is his attitude and humble demeanor that set him apart.”
In addition to the cases mentioned above, and others, Lawshe reached nearly 3,000 different people in 2013 through hunter education classes, elementary school demonstrations, fairs, parades and other events.
“He uses outreach events to educate children and adults about conservation and to spread the message about what the FWC does,” said Lt. Ben Allen, Lawshe’s supervisor.
Lawshe doesn’t limit his positive influence to official events, though. He uses countless interactions with the public each day to make a difference in his community and the state.
“His efforts lead to better protection of Florida’s people and natural resources,” Adams said.
Lawshe’s hard work also helps make public lands a better place to hunt, fish and recreate. He has addressed complaints from the public about illegal fishing activity at Guana Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and deer poaching on Relay WMA. He has also caught people placing bait on public lands.
“Lawshe is also called upon frequently by other law enforcement agencies for his skills at working in the woods and his hard-working nature,” Allen said.
In 2013, Lawshe assisted the Florida Highway Patrol in finding a driver who had fled a traffic accident and was hiding in the woods, helped the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office apprehend a suspect during a manhunt in a wooded area, searched for evidence in the woods regarding a burnt vehicle case and helped recover a body in a murder investigation. He has also instructed two local SWAT teams in man-tracking.
“We’re fortunate to have Officer Lawshe on our team,” Adams said. “The whole state of Florida is fortunate to have him. He not only provides exceptional service on a daily basis, but he sets an example for others as well.”
Lawshe comes from a long line of outdoorsmen. After serving in the U.S. Army, his passion for the outdoors led him to pursue a career with the FWC. He began work in Martin County in 2008 and now lives in St. Johns County with his wife and two sons.
To learn more about what Officer Lawshe does on a regular basis, follow his activities on Twitter this Friday, Jan. 17, @MyFWCLife at #FWC2014. To learn more about becoming an FWC officer, visit MyFWC.com/Get-Involved .
Editorial note: “Protecting Paradise” provides a glimpse into the world of an FWC officer. Finding lost hikers, checking boaters for safety gear and teaching children about fishing and hunting are just some of the contributions they make. This column is written by Katie Purcell, Division of Law Enforcement Community Relations Coordinator. It will feature different topics to help communicate with the public and foster the shared passion and teamwork that are vital to protecting Florida’s people and beautiful natural resources for years to come.