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AGO 1952 No. 285 - April 09, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

FISHERIES INSPECTORS ‑- POWERS AS POLICE OFFICERS, ISSUANCE OF WARRANTS AND PROCESSES TO FISHERIES INSPECTORS.

 1. A fisheries inspector or deputy inspector is a peace officer whose powers of law enforcement are restricted to the enforcement of the Fisheries Code and the rules, orders and regulations of the Director of Fisheries and within such limitation such inspector has the usual powers of a peace officer.

 2. A fisheries inspector or deputy inspector has the authority to serve and execute warrants and processes issued in the enforcement of the Fisheries Code and orders, rules and regulations of the Director of Fisheries.  Such warrants and processes may properly be issued to the sheriff, constable or other peace officer.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                    April 9, 1952 

Honorable Robert E. Schoettler
Director
Department of Fisheries
1308 Smith Tower
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 285

 Attention:  Mr. C. L. Hall

 Dear Sir:

             We have your request for an opinion upon the following questions:

             1. Is a fisheries inspector's authority restricted to the enforcement of the Fisheries Code and the regulations and orders of the director of fisheries?

             2. How may warrants of arrest and search warrants to be executed by fisheries inspector be issued to include a fisheries inspector?

             Our conclusions are:

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            1. A fisheries inspector's powers of law enforcement are restricted to the enforcement of the Fisheries Code and the regulations and orders of the director of fisheries, and within such restrictions the fisheries inspector has the usual powers of a peace officer.

             2. Warrants of arrest and search warrants issued by courts in the enforcement of the provisions of the Fisheries Code and the rules, orders and regulations of the director of fisheries may be executed by a fisheries inspector or deputy fisheries inspector.  Such warrants may properly be issued to the sheriff or constable or other peace officer.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             Section 20, chapter 112, Laws of 1949, grants authority to a fisheries inspector to exercise all necessary powers to enforce theFisheries Code and the rules, regulations and orders made by the director.  This section specifically makes such an inspector a peace officer, but limits his powers as herein indicated.

             Section 21, chapter 112, Laws of 1949, gives to a fisheries inspector authority to serve and execute all warrants and processes issued by the courts in the enforcement of the provisions of law and all rules and provisions of the director pertaining to food fish and shell fish.

             Section 22, chapter 112, Laws of 1949, imposes upon a fisheries inspector together with other named officials, the duty within his respective jurisdiction to enforce all laws and rules and regulations adopted by the director for the protection of food fish and shell fish.

             From a consideration of the foregoing sections of the Fisheries Code we are of the opinion that a fisheries inspector or a deputy fisheries inspector has the usual authority of a peace officer to enforce the provisions of the Fisheries Code and all the rules, regulations or orders made by the director of fisheries, but that the authority of such fisheries inspector or deputy fisheries inspector is limited to the enforcement of the Fisheries Code and the rules, regulations or orders of the director of fisheries.

             We are further of the opinion that a fisheries inspector and deputy fisheries inspector has full authority to serve and execute all warrants and processes issued by courts in the enforcing of the provisions of laws and all rules, regulations, and orders of the director of fisheries pertaining to food fish and shell fish, but that the authority of such inspector or deputy inspector is limited to the serving and execution of those specific warrants and processes.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Since a fisheries inspector or a deputy fisheries inspector is a peace officer within the limitations herein expressed, it is our opinion that a warrant of arrest, search warrant or other process issued by the courts and to be served and executed by a fisheries inspector or deputy fisheries inspector, may properly be issued to a sheriff or constable or other peace officer.  The inclusion of the term "peace officer" would clearly authorize the execution of the appropriate warrant or process by fisheries inspector or deputy fisheries inspector.

 Very truly yours,
SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JOHN J. O'BRIEN
Special Assistant
Attorney General

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