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RALEIGH, N.C. (Dec. 7) - Recently promoted to lieutenant with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Wildlife Enforcement Officer Michael Hatley recalls how enrolling in criminal justice courses during college helped change his career direction.

Graduating with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from N.C. State University, he originally had intentions of becoming a biologist.

"Those criminal justice classes sparked an interest in law enforcement," Hatley said. "I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad and grand-dad, so I knew the importance of conservation. Becoming a wildlife enforcement officer allows me to protect our natural resources and serve the sportsmen of this state."

A 16-year law enforcement veteran, Hatley will supervise field operations for hunting and fishing regulations in Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Mitchell, McDowell and Yancey counties. He will enforce boating regulations for Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Tahoma and Lake Hickory.

He will also coordinate hunter education and boating safety education programs, adding "teaching safety and responsibility is a very important part of the job for me."

Born in Onslow County, he is the son of Mary-Louise and James Hatley and a graduate of East Burke High School. Hatley now lives in Valdese with his wife, Annette and their two daughters, Helena Louise, 13 months old, and Speed Kara, 7 months old.


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