Sergeant John R. Hendricks....Serving since June 1,
"Forget not from whence you came." "Treat
your personnel the way you wanted to treated by your
a good listener, and be willing to compromise."
"Treat the public which you serve with respect and courtesy."
"BE CAREFUL OUT THERE."
Name: John R. Hendricks
Southern Illinois University
John R. Hendricks grew up on a farm with a love
the outdoors and wildlife near Quincy, Illinois. He attended Quincy Senior High
School then attended Southern University in Carbondale following
graduation. He raised chickens, (600 laying hens) and was state
champion poultry producer for 2 consecutive years, ducks and geese, worked on the family farm, was
a member of and class president of Future Farmers of America. Today
he lives and works in Jacksonville, Illinois Region IV District 10 as
a Conservation Police Sergeant.
Sergeant John R. Hendricks is Happily
Married to his wife Kathy for 29 plus years. They have lived in
rural Jacksonville for the last since 1984 where they enjoy gardening, swimming and
attending Southern Illinois University in Carbondale,Il, as time
permitted, John practised and perfected the Art of calling Geese. At
that time, [early 1960 ties], four counties' Union, Jackson,
Alexander, and Williamson combined wintered in excess of 1,000,000
Canada Geese, and was acclaimed the " Goose Capitol" of the world.
Johns' friends affectionately named him " HONKER" because of his
love of the Canada Goose," HONKERS," and his Goose calling skills.
John also won the S.I.U. Duck calling contest and was recognized and
acclaimed an excellent Duck caller. John started calling Ducks at
the age of 7. Now retired, John now manages his own " DUCK
COMMANDERS" / " HONKERS HILTON, " waterfowl hunting club near
Pleasant Hill, Il. John enjoys sharing the water fowling experience
with his Special, " True Friends".
Original Badge #241(retired
badge number 145)- Sgt. John R.
Hendricks had to purchase is own duty weapon and was Armed with S+W 19
4" barrel .38 - His issued vehicle was a 1967 6 cylinder Stick Ford with 120,000
Miles with no radios
Where were you
in June 1969?
John R. Hendricks
was getting ready for his first day of work. Over 31 years ago a
young officer was willing and ready to travel and work anywhere in the state
for the career of a lifetime.
Inspector I John R. Hendricks was not hired as part
of a regular recruit class. Rather, hired by former Director William
Rutherford, from Peoria Illinois, and the then Chief of the Law
Enforcement Division John Rebuffoni who had no interest in John's
personal political affiliation. He was hired strictly on his
qualifications, his merits and integrity. His training was
administered in the field with other officers called FTO's, or Field
Training Officers and supervisors. He
was going to be stationed in Cook County for 30-90 days as a temporary
assignment with expectations of getting a permanent assignment closer
to home in Quincy Illinois Adams County. His 90 days turned into 9
months. He continued to call home and return on his days off taking
the train back home to save on money. His former wife, Ruth Ann, a
beautician in Quincy, and daughter Heather
missed him very much.
ambition carried an aggressive enforcement position which adapted well
with the big city. His first citation was given at BECK
LAKE in DesPlaines Illinois, part of the Cook County Forest Preserve District
for no fishing license.
spending 9 months in Chicago he was transferred back to Adams County.
Unfortunately his stay down south was a short one due to the fact that
John administered the Conservation Laws fairly and equitably to all
democrats and republicans alike. Unfortunately his reward for this,
after only serving 90 days in Adams County, was to be politically
transferred back to Cook County because he ran a foul with the local
politicians. After 90 days
he was transferred back to Cook County to work. John would return to
Adams county every day off. He would take the train in order to save
on money and gas. While working in Cook County Sergeant John R.
Hendricks spent many days working
William Powers State Conservation Area, When asked about his
weekends off John replied "We did not get any weekends off. We had to
make sure everything was covered on busy weekends. It was part of the job". His love
of the Job prevailed.
As the rest of the world was focused on the first
dusty footprints left by
MEN ON THE MOON
I John. R. Hendricks was checking areas of Cook County for fish and game
violations. Inspector Hendricks and his car F77 patrolled areas like
William Powers State Conservation Area, Beck Lake, Montrose
Harbor, and O'Hare field were on his list of areas to patrol. He
would spend time checking commercial fish markets, commercial
fisheries, commercial fish markets, taxidermists, bank fishermen,
upland game hunters and waterfowl hunters.
After a few years on the force John was showing
promise with his species identification. So much progress he was
appointed the State's first endangered species officer in 1971 by
Director Anthony Dean. John worked very closely with Special Agents
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the northeast portion of the
state. He would frequent O'Hare field and work with SA TOM WHARTON
and SA VICTOR BLAZEVIC and SA JOHN MINNICK of the USFWS at O'Hare
field the port of entry.
Caimans, Siberian tigers, and timber wolves were constructively
seized from violators of the endangered species act.
In 1974 a new Chief, William Brey,
of Law Enforcement was appointed by the state and he changed the
names from Inspectors to Conservation Police Officers. The
title is still used today.
31 plus years
Dr. David Kenny
Larry D. Closson
Jennifer Henry (Acting Chief)
John R. Hendricks earns Sergeant Stripes
Conservation Police was offered advancement to Sergeant with an application
Central Management Systems.
John R. Hendricks decided to apply in 1974. With his good management
skills enforcement talents, and ability to work well with other
officers gave him the edge he needed to get the job. Inspector
John R. Hendricks, now Sergeant John R. Hendricks, assumed command
Region 4 District 10
his "home area".
In 1975 he worked "Spring Ducks" in his district.
This was a time when the waterfowl resources were overlooked.
Sergeant John R. Hendricks spent a lot of time aggressively
enforcing waterfowl hunting in his area and on the Illinois River in
both spring fall and winter.
One aspect of waterfowl enforcement John is
particular about is prosecution and working with the USFWS. Most of
his cases involving migratory waterfowl were prosecuted in federal
court. Waterfowl enforcement was then and continues to be today his
number one resource protection enforcement priority.
After several years of citing repeat violators of
the MBTA and working with the courts his efforts were felt throughout
the community. Even to this day people still recognize Sergeant John
R. Hendricks as the lead officer who carefully planned and organized
the details with both state and federal wildlife officers to combat
unlawful spring waterfowl hunting activities along the Illinois River
near Beardstown Illinois. Sergeant John R. Hendricks takes particular
pride in his districts leading the state year after year in terms of
number MBTA cases involving the unlawful taking of migratory birds
dove/ waterfowl on or over baited areas or by the aid of bait. Some
years this distinction was shared with Sergeant Roger Smith's
These cases would not have been
accomplished without the excellent cooperation of the USFWS and its
Special Agents. It was a joint team effort of both state and federal
agents and in particular Special Agent Pilot Jerry Sommers (retired)
and Special Agent Pilot Ralph VonDane (deceased) who have flown hours and hours
of aerial intelligence which resulted in locating the unlawfully
baited areas. Also Special Agent John Mendoza, Special Agent Tim
Santel, Special Agent Mike Damico, Special Agent Joe Budzyn, Special
Agent Keri Halpen, Special Agent Vic Blavevic (deceased), Special Agent pilot
George (Skip) Lacey (deceased), and Special Agent Tom Wharton. Much of the
success they have had is a direct result in working with the USFWS and
it's Special Agents and special agent pilots.
One fact about waterfowl enforcement that keeps
Sergeant John R. Hendricks and his District 10 "duck commander team" working is "Hard work and
effort through education results in species preservation and personal
Personal tragedy struck in 1988 with the death of his only child,
Heather Christine Hendricks age 18, was killed a house fire in Arizona. His daughter,
Heather, enjoyed visiting home. Especiallyduring the State Fair. She
shared an inherent love of wildlife and nature. After the death of his
daughter (Heather who died on May 21st 1988) John felt the world had
ended however, he felt, the Good Lord gave him the strength to continue and go
on with life.
R. Hendricks takes great pride in his district and waterfowl
enforcement. He was one of the original founding fathers Conservation
Officers and has contributed to the DUCKS ARE
LIMITED program which helps train officers from other states
and our state officers in waterfowl enforcement. The program is a
week long and includes sections on baiting, species identification,
bag limits, feeding habits, shot types, decoy types, illegal methods,
federal regulations, and changes or updates relative to MBTA. These
concepts are integrated into classroom programs and field exercises.
The exercises focus of common illegal methods, over bags, and
important part of police work is appearance. One area which Sergeant
John R. Hendricks prides himself on is the campaign style hats
currently worn by our officers today. Sergeant John R. Hendricks
stresses the importance in looking good in uniform. He has acquired
the name of Sergeant Brasso because he spends so much time making his
equipment and brass looking good. Studies have shown a well dressed
officer is more effective in the field. John viewed the campaign
style hats as being the benchmark of uniform professionalism.
Sergeant John R. Hendricks also led a
crusade to get regulations on dead set nets changed. The
problem is concerning
spring migrations of ducks and commercial fishermen. The commercial
fishermen would set nets in the water and leave them unattended. As time passes
by if the nets are not monitored both diver ducks and puddle ducks
dive and become entangled in the nets. The decline in duck
populations, specifically the Scaup (bluebill), have been directly
impacted as a direct result of dead set (unattended) nets. Sergeant
John R. Hendricks adds "These regulations should have been in place
years ago". Certain dates have regulations in place for dead set
nets. The intent of this law is not to affect the livelihood of the
commercial fishermen but rather help control the unnecessary deaths of
the migratory waterfowl. Currently USFWS is actively reviewing the
unattended commercial fishing nets issue nationwide
Going to work
Every day is a good day when you have the
job in the world, Says Sgt. John R. Hendricks. That is the concept Sergeant John R. Hendricks has
used to keep him going strong for the last 31 +years. His day can
start off early and coordinate details with field officers. His
also includes checking in with site specific lands and monitoring
check stations. Some management personnel help a great deal in law
enforcement. At Sanganois State Wildlife Area site Superintendent Dan Cowen and
Jeff Hopps share bird counts, hunter facts, and fish kill
information with Sgt. John R. Hendricks.
Part of his day is also checking compliance in hunting and fishing
licenses. This means he has to study some of the log
information to see if the numbers add up.
Poaching takes place all times of the day and night. Here
Sergeant John R. Hendricks is getting his gear ready to check baited
waterfowl areas along the Illinois River. Common
tools are bait scoops, evidence collection bags, a small hand held
flashlight with a red lens,
way radio, good walking shoes, camouflage clothing, bug repellant and
One of the most important items is a
skilled and experienced backup officer. Someone to drop officers
off in the cover of darkness and stay out of
sight until the bait collection is complete. It is important to have
a good drop off man to keep concealment and covert operations running
good. Sergeant John R. Hendricks takes an active role in ingress and
egress these areas and has coined the reputation as the nation's
finest drop off man. Sergeant John R. Hendricks' role has changed in
more recent years to get his officers in and out of waterfowl clubs
undetected, and provide whatever support necessary to accomplish the
standard equipment issued was an
badge, citation book, 3 shirts with 3 patches. When John R. Hendricks
was first hired he did not get a patrol car. Radios were not an
accessory in all enforcement vehicles at the time either. Citations (tickets) commanded a $15.00
fine and the cost of a fishing license was $2.25 and $3.25 for
Oddly enough only one patch was affixed to the
uniform back in 1969. The left side of the shirt displayed the
patch. Nothing was placed on the right side.
The Job in 1969 demanded 12
hour days sometimes 14 or more. There was no schedule to
follow and overtime was not an option. Most of the officers did not
concern themselves with overtime now called comp time. The job
was not done until the mission was accomplished and overtime was not
a concern for conservation officers back then. They loved the
job so much they were not concerned. Inspector I John R.
Hendricks and his counterparts were compensated for $419.00 per
month in Chicago. Times were so difficult there were times
that Inspector I John R. Hendricks stayed at the state site William
Conservation Area in one of the maintenance buildings to just get
by. He loved the job so much he endured the discomfort of being
away from home. Illinois Beach State Park and Chain O'lake State Park
was also part of his assignment. Inspector I John R. Hendricks also
enjoyed working the smelt details with other officers from around the
state. The time in April brought good arrests. Inspector I John R.
Hendricks also worked with Inspector I Jerry Kramarczyk, Bruce
Benstein, Monte Burnham, Harold Knight, Inspector II Harold Young,
Inspector III Mark Tuttle, and Inspector I Gillbert Anderson.
To see an original permit and citation book
cover click on one of the pictures listed below.
Issued July 19, 1969
enforcement gives years of stories
R. Hendricks has a story for all of Illinois conservation laws. As the
laws and resource has changed over the years so has his enforcement
style. One case that is fresh in his mind is a commercial fish detail
worked in conjunction with the USFWS. The case involved
violations of several state and federal laws. Illinois
Conservation Police, Tennessee Department of Natural Resources
USFWS special agents and Illinois officers watched commercial markets and waited patiently
for the unlawful game fish to arrive. The major violation was the
Black Bass Act and
LACEY ACT (which is now incorporated LACEY ACT), which involved
the interstate transportation of illegal fish and game. The
transportation took place in pickup trucks with coolers carrying loads
of rough fish. Under the thousands of pounds of lefish were illegal
game fish and sometimes illegally taken waterfowl to be sold to
Chicago restaurants and the black markets. Months of interviews,
covert investigations, surveillance, and coordination with multiple
agencies resulted in arrests and the seizure of 1000's of pounds of
fish including unlawfully taken crappie, bass , blue gill, and pike.
Another time enforcing commercial exploitation of
game fish was in a local area where Rich Logsdon and Kevin Bettis were
observing a father and son setting commercial fish nets for crappie.
Officer Logsdon entered a float tube (similar to the ones bass
fishermen use) and concealed himself in the
Waiting for the father and son to come in and dump the illegal fish into their
live box. Sergeant John R. Hendricks and the others seized the fish
and equipment, performed field interviews and made arrests. Most of
the fish were shipped illegally to Chicago on the black market. The
results were of a felony nature due to the large quantity of crappie
fish. A long Jury trial in Mason County resulted in a guilty
revocation of their fishing privileges with the loss of their
equipment, plate boat and motor, and large fines.
Sergeant John R. Hendricks has been on the force for
over 3 decades. In his years if being Sergeant he has had the
opportunity to work with CPOs Jim Getz (retired Captain Getz Lake
Michigan unit), Rich Powell (retired Deputy Chief in Springfield), Mark Ottis (retired Captain Ottis Region IV), Jenny Henry
(now Sergeant Springfield), Captain Kim E. Rhodes, and Sgt. Tim Daiber.. Who all began their conservation law
enforcement careers in district 10 working with Sergeant Hendricks.
All were former District 10 personnel.
Every year Sergeant John R. Hendricks
takes pride and truly enjoys both working and supervising the
Fair detail in conservation world
Illinois. He has been working the fair since 1969 and has enjoyed
meeting thousands of people who visit wanting to learn more about
conservation law enforcement and wildlife. Sergeant John R. Hendricks
information and education are key elements in a successful and
complete law enforcement program. "Sharing safety and historical
information with Illinois residents gives them a better idea and
perspective on enjoying the outdoors".
only the officers that he supervises but also the people who return to
the booth year after year that make Sergeant John R. Hendricks proud
to be a part of Illinois State Fair detail every year.
It is the people both the officers that share
the fair details and the public that return to conservation world very
year that make Sergeant John R. Hendricks proud to be a part of
Illinois State Fair detail every year. Sergeant John R. Hendricks has
years of photographs from the state fair in the PHOTO PAGE. Officer Jack Rife also has some
pictures from the state fair on his interview page.
John R. Hendricks philosophy on management.
plus years (most of which as a Sergeant) of experience has kept
Sergeant Hendricks going strong.
According to Sergeant John
R. Hendricks managing personnel is not easy. With so many
different types of officers and personalities working with him, a
flexible and compromising management style has been employed by
Sergeant John R. Hendricks. Sergeant John R. Hendricks maintains
professional relationships with his district 10 "duck commander"
enforcement team members in district 10 by having a friendly
atmosphere, open door policy, and team orientated goals all while
maintaining his professionalism as a supervisor. However more
importantly, as a friend and mentor
In respect to priorities and law enforcement
Sergeant John R. Hendricks feels there should be a strong focus and
priority placed on Resource Protection with additional manpower to
facilitate it. He also adds that an increase in field personal
head count would
be a great benefit to the resource.
enforcement have been good to Sergeant John R. Hendricks. He has
contributed to many worthwhile causes. Several of these programs have
acknowledged Sergeant John R. Hendricks by giving him awards.
In 1995 and 1996 Sergeant John R. Hendricks was awarded an honor he
holds very dear to his heart. This honor is important because of all
the enforcement hours Sergeant John R. Hendricks has put forth in
waterfowl protection. The Mississippi Flyway Council bestowed their high honor
of Waterfowl Enforcement Officer Of The Year. It is Sergeant John R.
Hendricks ideas on "Ducks ARE limited" that helped him achieve such a
Advice from Sergeant John R. Hendricks
Advice to both new and senior
"Forget not from whence you came."
"Treat your personnel the way you wanted to be treated by your
supervisors. Be a good listener, and be willing to compromise."
"Treat the public which you serve
with respect and courtesy."
"BE CAREFUL OUT THERE."
Sergeant John. R. Hendricks recently retired form Illinois
State Conservation Police and is enjoying retirement with his family and