A Tale of Two Wardens
Meet Tom Krsnich
My name is Tom Krsnich. I am an environmental warden who has been assigned to a unit in the DNR that conducts criminal investigations of environmental violations. The job of environmental warden requires me to investigate people and companies who choose to pollute Wisconsin s natural resources. I work in northeastern Wisconsin and have an office at the regional office in Green Bay (Go Packers Go!!). There are a total of seven environmental wardens in several locations around the state. We investigate environmental crimes like a detective would investigate any other type of crime. Although we all have uniforms like regular conservation wardens, we generally dress in business suits.
I grew up just outside of Milwaukee in West Allis. As a child I always enjoyed the out of doors and frequently went to Milwaukee County Parks and the Milwaukee County Zoo. Growing up in an urban area I did not get to see a lot of wildlife until I got older and was able to travel around Wisconsin. As a young man, I decided that I wanted to be a law enforcement officer. When the opportunity came along to combine a law enforcement career with the outdoors, I jumped at the chance. I started my career as a conservation warden with the DNR in 1979 after attending the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. My college degree is in Criminal Justice. While training to become a conservation warden with the DNR, I studied very hard to learn about the natural resources of Wisconsin.
In 1980, I was stationed at Black Creek; which is a small town north of Appleton and west of Green Bay, in the Fox River Valley. At Black Creek one of my biggest responsibilities was the enforcement of fishing regulations on the Wolf River. The area that I patrolled on the Wolf River would often have millions of walleyes and thousands of sturgeon in the springtime. The spring fish spawning time was very busy. I would check hundreds of fishers. I also had to patrol at night on the Wolf River for fish poachers. After leaving Black Creek, I was stationed as a conservation warden at Appleton for three years.
I was promoted to the position of environmental warden in 1990 after 11 years as a field conservation warden. Wisconsin s environmental wardens provide a valuable service not only to the people of the state, but to the regular conservation wardens who do not have the time to conduct long investigations. Often my investigations will last for over a year. In general, my investigations try to determine if someone has committed a criminal violation of Wisconsin s environmental protection laws. In a criminal case the person who broke the law can pay a fine, go to prison or jail, or BOTH. Often the judge will also order the criminal to clean up the pollution.
The work that environmental wardens do is very satisfying. One way that I look at my work is that when I was a regular conservation warden, I was often responsible for saving hundreds of walleyes in the spring time from poachers. Now, I can be responsible for saving thousands or more from the effects of pollution as well as protecting the health and safety of Wisconsin s citizens.
To learn about a typical day in the life of an environmental warden, click here...An Environmental Warden's Day
You can e-mail me with questions.
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