Personnel note: Jessica Crawford named next FWC Chief of Staff


Current Chief of Staff Jennifer Fitzwater is set to retire.

Jessica Crawford, legislative affairs director at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will be the agency’s new Chief of Staff.

The Governor’s Office confirmed that Crawford will step up to replace the retiring Jennifer Fitzwater.

Fitzwater has served FWC in multiple roles since 2013 and was previously Chief of Staff at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Governor’s Office was unsure of Fitzwater’s retirement date.

Crawford has previously worked at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and was a legislative aide to then-Sen. Alan Hays.

FWC, overseen by Executive Director Eric Sutton since 2017, manages Florida’s fish and wildlife resources. Agency leadership includes seven Commissioners appointed by the Governor.

Voters approved the creation of FWC with a constitutional amendment in 1998. Lawmakers merged the Marine Fisheries Commission, Division of Marine Resources and the Florida Marine Patrol to create the agency in 1999.

A large portion of FWC’s operations is the Division of Law Enforcement, which oversees state conservation law. The division has more than 1,000 employees, over 800 of whom are sworn officers.

In 2012, the Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott merged the Division of Law Enforcement with DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement and parts of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement. Combined units included FDACS officers assigned to patrol state forests and the investigator responsible for commercial aquaculture violations.

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