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Longtime investigator Demaree retires

April 16, 2020
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Long-time wildlife investigator Demaree retires

 
LARAMIE –Longtime Wildlife Investigator John Demaree is retiring after 42 years with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
 
Demaree started his career with the Department in 1976 as a temporary Special Deputy Warden.
In May 1978, he was appointed as the Damage Control Warden for the Laramie Region. For 15 years, he worked to prevent wildlife damage to crops, haystacks, grass and livestock, and worked with landowners to evaluate damage and investigate claims. In 1981, he helped create the first handbook on preventing and evaluating wildlife damage, and co-authored an update in 1991.
 
In 1993, he was appointed as a Wildlife Investigator. He worked closely with game wardens, both in- and out-of-state, to accomplish Department and Wildlife Investigative Unit (WIU) law enforcement objectives. The WIU works major, long-term, complicated wildlife cases. Many of these involve illegal commercialization of wildlife, multiple suspects, and numerous jurisdictions. He was an expert in search warrant writing, execution and evidence collection.
 
One case he worked tirelessly on involved the illegal introduction of invasive rusty crayfish in the Wagonhound Ranch near Douglas. Because it involved a felony Lacey Act violation, the case took nearly three years to get through the federal system. “We were doing interviews in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for this case,” Demaree said. “Then we had to sample many different ponds where the company had stocked fish to make sure there were no rusty crayfish in any of them. It was very time consuming.” The case was ultimately settled for $100,000 in fines and restitution.
 
He was trained in computer and cell phone forensics, and became the first certified digital forensic analyst in the Department in 2013. For several years, he single-handedly operated the Department’s digital forensics lab, analyzing seized cell phone and computer evidence. In all, he mirrored and analyzed more than 170 phones, 30 computers and hundreds of SD cards and thumb drives.
 
 “As a pivotal member of the Wyoming Investigative Unit, John diligently worked to keep up with the constantly changing world of digital evidence collection,” said Rick King, Chief Game Warden for the Game and Fish Department. “John has been at the forefront of digital evidence collection and volunteered to be the Department’s first Cellebrite and computer forensic analyst. Based on his work, the Department’s ability to capture digital evidence from cell phones and computers is state-of-the-art and has enhanced our ability to prosecute major wildlife crimes.”
 
Demaree served as the treasurer for the Wyoming Game Warden’s Association for more than 34 years and was an integral part of the planning team for two international game warden conferences with the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association. In 1987, he was selected as the Wildlife Division Employee of the Year, in 1989 he was selected as the Wyoming Game Wardens Association Officer of the Year, and in 2003, John was selected the Shikar-Safari Officer of the Year. In 2020, he received the Game and Fish Department’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
 
Looking back over his career, Demaree said the most rewarding part was closing a case and bringing poachers to justice. “After that, it’s up to the court system to. We did our job to the best of our abilities to close a case. We can take it so far, and the rest is up to the judge.”
 
Laramie has been his home for more than 30 years and he and his wife, Sue, have no plans to leave. He plans to spend more time with his son and two grandchildren, ages 4 and 2, who live in Cheyenne.
 
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