Grundy County Conservation Agent Jeff Berti of Trenton has been named the 2013 National Law Enforcement Officer by the National Wild Turkey Federation during its 38th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show.
Berti, a 20-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Conservation who has served 19 years in Grundy County, also won the NWTF’s Missouri State Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.
In 2013, Berti documented 248 resource violations, made more than 112 arrests, and 31 assisted arrests. His efforts resulted in the detection of 42 violations and 30 arrests for illegally killing wild turkeys in a single five-month period.
Berti, who was in Nashville for the ceremony, had no previous knowledge he had won.
“I’m most proud of being able to hunt with my dad and will take my daughters hunting soon,” said Berti, who was stunned to learn he’d won a national award. “I became a wildlife officer because I grew up hunting and fishing. As hunters, we all must work together to save wildlife habitat. Otherwise, our way of life will disappear.”
The NWTF determined this year’s award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization’s new “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative.
“Agent Berti is an outstanding example of someone who recognizes the importance of conserving wildlife and habitat, and preserving our hunting heritage,” said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. “His dedication to upholding game laws and reaching potential hunters is impressive. We commend his service, and are proud to honor him with this award.”
Berti’s dedication extends beyond his duties as a conservation agent. He’s also an NWTF volunteer who played an instrumental part in forming the local NWTF Green Hills chapter in 1999. Since then, Berti has served as chapter president and banquet chairman and is currently treasurer. He helped initiate the local chapter’s first JAKES, Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach events and has assisted with each event since then.
Berti is actively involved in educating youth in outdoor pursuits. He works with the FFA organization and is a hunter education and National Archery in the Schools Program instructor. He’s also beloved by local children for capturing a stray bat at their school, offering an impromptu program about the animals, and then safely releasing the bat.
Timothy Brooks, president of the NWTF George Clark Missouri State Chapter, nominated Berti for the NWTF national award. Brooks cited efficiency, professionalism, thoroughness and lack of prejudice among Berti’s strengths. Berti is well-known and esteemed throughout the community he serves for his exceptional rapport with other conservation agencies and for maintaining a respectful attitude, even when issuing citations or making arrests.