Colonel Kevin Jordan: (603) 271-3128
Nicola Whitley: (603) 271-3211
September 28, 2021
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Law Enforcement Division recently recognized the following New Hampshire Conservation Officers for outstanding achievement in 2019 and 2020.
Conservation Officer James Benvenuti and his K-9 partner Cora were honored with the 2019 Vermont Police K-9 Association Evidence Detection Team of the Year Award.
Conservation Officer Benvenuti and his K-9 partner Cora received the Evidence Detection Team of the Year award for 2019. They were also given the same award for 2018. The pair is certified in Tracking, Evidence Detection, Search and Rescue, and Fish and Wildlife Detection. In 2019 they completed 212 hours of intense in-service training.
As a team they have completed many missions together including being called by the Deerfield Police Department to track a missing juvenile. Cora was deployed and tracked this individual for approximately half a mile to where they were hiding in the woods. The child was returned to his very appreciative parents. Cora came to Fish and Game as the result of a generous donation from Wes and Belinda Reed of Rise and Shine Retrievers.
Conservation Officer Bob Mancini and his K-9 Partner Ruger were honored with the Vermont Police K-9 Association Evidence Detection Team of the Year Award for 2020.
K-9 Ruger came to work with CO Mancini in 2013 at age 9 months. They are trained and certified in Tracking, Evidence Detection, Search and Rescue, and Fish and Wildlife Detection. After completing 204 hours of intense in-service training they have been deployed as a team dozens of times. Ruger and CO Mancini are now part of the command staff at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord.
Over the years, the pair has helped solve numerous cases, including the search for a teenage girl with Asperger’s who went missing in remote Forest Service property. Ruger found, lost, and refound the track multiple times searching in the heavily wooded terrain and through brooks and streams for over 3 miles. He eventually located the girl who was inadequately dressed, cold, wet, and without any survival gear. K-9 Ruger and CO Mancini certainly save her life that day.
Conservation Office Eric Fluette was honored with the 2019 CLECA Officer of the Year Award and the Vermont Police K-9 Association Tracking Team of the Year Award for 2020.
Conservation Officer Eric Fluette was recognized by the Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Association (CLECA), an organization made up of Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs from the States of Virginia to Maine, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, and Canadian Provinces. Its primary purpose is to encourage and promote conservation law enforcement cooperation amongst the eastern states. CLECA annually recognizes an officer from each state for their outstanding contributions to fish and wildlife protection.
Since November 2013, CO Fluette has patrolled the region of New Hampshire encompassing 12 towns and unincorporated areas in the North Country. “Eric has done an outstanding job in this challenging patrol area and he is a consummate professional who has gained the admiration of his peers, supervisors, and constituents,” said Law Enforcement Division Chief Colonel Kevin Jordan.
CO Fluette also does a great deal of work with his K-9 partner Moxie, including continual training. In 2019 alone they were called to deploy 32 times and over 20 in 2020. One such case involved assisting Lt. Mark Ober in his search for an overdue hunter in Shelburne. Moxie tracked this hunter for approximately two miles into an area where CO Fluette could make voice contact with him. He had fallen from his tree stand and suffered a severe leg injury. Moxie is also a generous donation from Wes and Belinda Reed of Rise and Shine Retrievers.
Conservation Office Josiah Towne was awarded the CLECA Officer of the Year Award for 2020.
Officer Towne began his career at NH Fish and Game in 2008 and started out in the Seacoast patrol area. While assigned to the coast, CO Towne successfully passed the month-long intensive Boat Navigation and Operation training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. In 2013, he transferred to District 3 in the central part of the state. “Josiah is good at taking advice and suggestions and has an extremely easygoing personality,” said Col. Jordan. “The mistake I see people make though is when they underestimate his capabilities.”
CO Towne is always willing to help out the agency and has taken on the role of Field Training Officer helping to train new wardens. He is also Crew Chief of the Airboat Team and an active member of the Joint Enforcement Team. He also started the Operation Game Thief Facebook page and is active answering questions that come in.
Conservation Office Graham Courtney was honored with the 2019 Shikar-Safari Conservation Officer of the Year Award.
Conservation Officer Graham Courtney was recognized by Shikar-Safari International was founded in 1952 as the Shikar-Safari Club International, a group of international hunters who joined together to exchange ideas and experiences about hunting. It was started as a social organization, but soon realized its potential to accomplish meaningful goals in the field of conservation worldwide. Each year they recognize an officer from each state for their outstanding contributions to fish and wildlife protection.
Officer Courtney has been working in the patrol area on the Seacoast since 2014. “The coastline of New Hampshire places unique demands on the officers tasked with enforcing the myriad laws that exist along our shore,” said Col. Kevin Jordan. “CO Courtney understands the complexities of quality law enforcement, addressing professional fishermen, and working to protect and preserve their livelihoods.” He has even become known locally as the “Cod Father” for his unique talent of finding illegally kept cod.
Officer Courtney is approachable and treats people with respect and dignity. “I hear time and time again how Courtney is a valued member of the Side Scan Sonar Team, one of four members. He is an operator and member of Fish and Game’s Airboat Team and is always willing to provide new officers with training on the complexities of our state and federal laws as they pertain to the commercial fishing industries.
Conservation Officer Ron Arsenault was awarded the Shikar-Safari Officer of the Year Award for 2020.
CO Ron Arsenault was recognized for his performance and accomplishments during 2020 with the Officer of the Year Award. Arsenault was hired in 2008 and has worked in District 2, the east central part of New Hampshire, ever since. “A dedicated officer with an outstanding work ethic and attitude, Ron is a tenacious, resourceful, and an outstanding investigator,” said Col. Jordan.
CO Arsenault is the go-to guy when it comes to using wildlife surveillance cameras and has made a number of cases successfully by gathering evidence using this complicated equipment. In 2020, Arsenault set up a district fishing detail on Lake Winnipesaukee that resulted in several summonses for fishing during the closed season. He also had a 100 percent court conviction rate in 2020. The Fish and Game COs go to court and are tasked with litigating against paid professional attorneys.
He is always looking for ways to assist others in the NH Fish and Game Department including being on the Joint Enforcement Team and the Airboat Team. “Ron always treats people with respect and prides himself on being fair to sportsmen and women, and he is an excellent example of what a Conservation Officer should be,” said Jordan.