News from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
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Col. Martin Garabedian: (603) 271-3128
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
June 8, 2010

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CONCORD, N.H. -- Three N.H. Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers were recently honored for outstanding performance – Adam Cheney of Colebrook; Michael J. Matson of Northwood; and Christopher McKee of Deering, N.H.

Conservation Officer Adam Cheney of Colebrook had the honor of being named the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year for 2009. Cheney patrols part of northern New Hampshire’s Connecticut Lakes Region, an area regarded as having some of the finest trout fishing in the Northeast and a popular vacation destination for hunters, snowmobilers and off-highway wheeled vehicle enthusiasts. He has worked for Fish and Game Law Enforcement for 10 years, all spent serving in northern New Hampshire.

"Adam Cheney has shown a tremendous tenacity in the performance of his duties, consistently producing a high volume of activity in off-highway recreational vehicle enforcement, as well as working in innovative ways to solve wildlife crimes," said Colonel Martin Garabedian, Chief of Law Enforcement for Fish and Game.

Cheney has identified areas of concern for wildlife crimes and developed and executed an effective patrol strategy using Fish and Game's Decoy Program. He has also been a highly effective Fish and Game Department ambassador to the community. "Through his hard work and dedication, Cheney has earned the respect of his law enforcement peers and maintains an excellent rapport with the general public in his patrol area," said Garabedian. In addition to his regular duties, Cheney is a Field Training Officer, member of the Department’s Honor Guard and a Law Enforcement Division Firearms Instructor.

The Shikar-Safari Club International is a worldwide organization dedicated to the protection, enhancement and preservation of wildlife, with emphasis on endangered and threatened species and promoting the enforcement of conservation laws and regulations.

Conservation Officer Michael J. Matson of Northwood was honored as the 2009 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Conservation Officer of the Year. Matson has worked in Fish and Game Law Enforcement for seven years, patrolling in District 5 in southeastern New Hampshire. The region is among the most populous and busy areas of the state for both wildlife and people, giving it the potential to have more wildlife-related violations than anywhere else in New Hampshire. Matson has responded to over two thousand calls for service over the past four years without receiving a single complaint.

"Matson maintains a high level of professionalism and has developed excellent interview techniques, as well as evidence collection and investigative skills," said Fish Game Col. Martin Garabedian. "Matson has a unique talent, which some might refer to as a 'sixth sense,' in his ability to look at a set of circumstances and determine with little or no evidence that something is not quite right. This has allowed him to successfully prosecute some significant wildlife violation cases that might have otherwise gone undetected."

Matson is an avid hunter and fishermen, which provides a strong foundation for his positive interactions with the sporting public. He has been actively involved in efforts to keep town-owned lands open to hunting, and initiated a licensing change to help veterans on leave from military service gain improved access to hunting and fishing opportunities.

Matson is a member of the Fish and Game Honor Guard and Dive Team and is a Field Training Officer and Firearm Instructor. He successfully completed a Marine Law Enforcement Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia and now assists coastal officers with enforcing complex marine regulations and training.

The Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association, which represents chiefs and command staff of 22 law enforcement organizations throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada. Its purpose is to encourage enhanced law enforcement cooperation among the member states and provinces, to study and exchange fish and wildlife law enforcement techniques and perspectives, and to promote cooperation and understanding among allied agencies in wildlife conservation and management. Each year, this association recognizes an officer from each state for his or her outstanding contribution to fish and wildlife protection of our country’s natural resources.

Conservation Officer Christopher McKee of Deering was honored with the Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division's prestigious Life Saving Award for his courageous response aiding victims of a car accident in January 2010. McKee was first on the scene of a horrific two-vehicle crash on Route 4 in Salisbury, N.H., that took the life of an 18-year old woman and severely injured three others. When McKee arrived, the officer found two young women, one already dead, trapped in the smoldering wreckage, while two male companions had been ejected from the car and lay bleeding in the road.

McKee's quick action helped prevent further loss of life. He immediately began emergency first-aid treatment of the victims, while using his cell phone to guide emergency response units to the site of the accident and providing time-critical information about the serious nature of the injuries involved. In the midst of the chaotic scene, McKee was able to insert an airway into one of the victims to help his labored breathing, then began treating his multiple injuries. Even after emergency personnel arrived, McKee continued to assist in treating and transporting the injured.

"Conservation Officer Christopher McKee's quick-thinking response, extraordinary first-aid skills and determination to react under extreme circumstances unquestionably averted the additional loss of life in this tragic event," said Fish and Game Colonel Martin Garabedian. "I am pleased to honor this exceptional officer with the Law Enforcement Division’s Life Saving Award, along with our sincere gratitude for his professionalism and exemplary performance under extreme circumstances."