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PHOENIX " John Harris, the police chief of Sahuarita, Ariz., and a veteran reserve Arizona game ranger, has been appointed to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission by Gov. Jan Brewer.
On Feb. 16, the Arizona State Senate confirmed the nomination. Harris, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, will be filling the commission seat of outgoing commissioner Bob Hernbrode, who lives in Tucson.
In an interview following his confirmation, Harris said he has had phenomenal opportunities during his lifetime to experience the outdoors and participate in wildlife-related recreation. "My goal is to ensure that my 22-year-old daughter and her future children are also able to have such experiences."
Harris added that he wants to take th e great things that have been done regarding wildlife and work to make them even better.
"There are always ways you can make improvements. But I have also learned that it"s always easy to come up with ideas while sitting on the sidelines, but you can see things differently once you are actually involved and learn more. I want to learn more before putting forth a lot of ideas."
Harris will have plenty of opportunity to learn and have input. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission establishes policy for the management, preservation, and harvest of wildlife. The commission also makes the rules and regulations for managing, conserving, and protecting wildlife and fisheries resources, and safe and regulated watercraft and off-highway vehicle operations for the benefit of the citizens of Arizona.
Harris has been a police chief for 15 years, serving two years in Pleasant Hill, Mo., eight years in Springfield, Ill., three years in Evanston, Wyo., and currently three years in Sahuarita.
Harris started his law enforcement career with the Tucson Police Department, and he retired in 1993 after achieving the rank of assistant police chief. For 10 of those years he volunteered as a game ranger for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. On returning to Arizona in 2006, Harris was reinstated as a reserve game ranger and serves in that capacity in southern Arizona.
Wildlife and wildlife issues have been a lifelong passion for Harris. Along with professional experience and education, he has been very active in the conservation field. He is a life member of the National Rifle Association, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Grand Slam Club, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He is a member of the Arizona Antelope Society, the Safari Club International Arizona chapter, and the Mule Deer Foundation.
Harris is past president of both the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society and the Wild Sheep Foundation. While serving as president of the Wild Sheep Foundation, Harris partnered with Warren Parker from Safari Club International and helped to start the United States Congressional Sportsman Caucus.
Harris holds a Master of Arts degree in criminal justice from Western Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona in public administration with the major field of study being law enforcement. He attended the 151st session of the FBI MLEEDS Executive Development program, the Illinois Law Enforcement Executive Institute, and the FBI"s Southwest Command College.
Harris will serve a five-year term on the Game and Fish Commission. The commission is comprised of five members (serving staggered five-year terms) appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No more than one commissioner may be from any one county. No more than three may be from the same political party. The commission is the civilian policy setting board overseeing the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Since its inception in 1929, this organizational structure has served as a buffer for the best interests of wildlife conservation during eight decades of back-and-forth political change.
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