Career Spotlight, Philip Stone, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officer – Sun Sentinel
Philip Stone, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer, was recently recognized with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Award for Marine Conservation for his dedication, particularly to the protection of sea turtles, at an FWC Commission meeting in Orlando. The group’s decision to honor him was very exciting, says Stone, because it is a large organization that does the right thing.
On the job
What I do: I deal with the public on a daily basis, typically as they are fishing, hunting, camping and hiking. As an FWC officer, I have full police powers and statewide jurisdiction.
A day in the life of an FWC officer: I work with local law enforcement agencies to minimize the impact to nesting and hatchling turtles. I help businesses and homeowners in Palm Beach and Martin [counties] reduce coastal lighting that can disorient turtle hatchlings. In 2016, I led an investigation of poaching that threatened loggerhead turtle eggs from Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County, apprehending the person in the act of digging up the eggs; 92 eggs were reburied, enabling the hatching of 32 loggerhead turtles.
Teamwork: Most recently I was part of the group that went down to the Florida Keys to help with Hurricane Irma recovery. I’m part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Special Operations Group team, specially trained for rapid response, to protect public property and natural resources, to respond to homeland security threats, natural disasters, public disturbances and other high risk law enforcement team responses.
Professional development: Ask questions. After serving in the military, I moved from my hometown in North Dakota to Florida and got a job working as an ocean lifeguard. During work, and in my leisure time as an avid angler and hunter, I often observed FWC boats with enforcement officers.