DNR Conservation Warden Dale Hochhausen, left, of the Mississippi River Warden Team stood with Rick Langley of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association.

On the heels of being lauded as the Wisconsin warden of 2019, Conservation Warden Dale Hochhausen’s outstanding public service caught the attention of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association, which named the La Crosse County-based warden as the association’s officer of the year.

Rick Langley, vice president of the law enforcement association representing all enforcement agencies operating on the North American continent, said in a statement that competition for their top international honor was fierce among the 12 nominees. Association executive board members voted on the selection.

“It was a very close run. Warden Hochhausen’s excellence in all facets of the varied duties edged out the competition,” Langley said.

Nominated by former Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, Hochhausen is a 21-year veteran of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Bureau of Law Enforcement. He serves on the Mississippi River Warden Team.

Newly installed Chief Conservation Warden Casey Krueger said Hochhausen’s dedication to service is known regionally.

“Dale does an outstanding job serving Wisconsin’s public and natural resources. And he stands ready to help officers of other states,” Krueger said. “Dale understands and implements a multi-faceted, balanced service program.”

The North American association cited Hochhausen’s multi-faceted program, which includes phenomenal work with the urban and rural areas as well as the vast Upper Mississippi River wildlife and fish refuge. Known for his ready assistance to officers in neighboring states, Hochhausen also was honored for his community involvement, resource education efforts, media relations and enforcement.

Capt. Rick Rosen, who leads the DNR West-Central Region law enforcement operations, said Wisconsin is well-served by Hochhausen, and the public can and should celebrate his honor.

“We are extremely proud of Dale Hochhausen and blessed to have this caliber of officer among our ranks. He has truly earned the title of The North American Warden of the Year, which comprises nominees from both the United States and Canada,” Rosen said. “Special thanks to the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association and its mission to promote and recognize professionalism and excellence in conservation law enforcement across the continent.”

Lt. Tyler Strelow, who leads the Mississippi River Warden Team, said Warden Hochhausen has a strong enforcement presence in his area and appropriately balances enforcement efforts between fish and game, recreational vehicles, recreational property and environmental. “Dale documented over 2,000 patrol contacts throughout the year,” Strelow said. If that wasn’t enough, the Cassville native fulfills many roles — from training new wardens to performing specialized roles.

The Wisconsin wardens were honored in another association category. Warden Kevin Christorf of the Lower Chippewa Warden Team was honored with the Region 5 Torch Award for 2019. Both wardens were presented their awards at the group’s conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.