Allison Eichmann fights crime. All kinds. From homicides to home invasions. And her passion is fighting crimes against wildlife.
That passion has earned Eichmann, senior deputy district attorney in Douglas County, the OSP Fish and Wildlife Division's Prosecutor of the Year award for 2020.
The Douglas-county native found her feet, her voice and her calling in Oregon. The state shaped her values and way of thinking. As the daughter of a veterinarian, Eichmann learned at an early age that animals can be victimized, that many don't survive, and that justice can be elusive. Although she didn't want to be a veterinarian, Eichmann wanted to help animals in other ways.
Her opportunity came when Eichmann joined the Douglas County District Attorney's office in 2005 after graduating from Willamette University law school. Working alongside District Attorney Rick Wesenberg, she mastered evidence collection and trial nuance while prosecuting poaching and other crimes against Oregon wildlife and habitats.
Juries enthusiastic to prosecute wildlife crimes bolstered her confidence from early days and community engagement in the judicial process has served her well in prosecuting hundreds of poaching cases over the years. Although poachers often plea their cases down to a misdemeanor, serious cases can be elevated to trial. When that happens, Eichmann can count on an engaged jury pool.
"One of my first cases was an elk poaching case in Canyonville," she said. "I was a new attorney, and the case had gone to trial. When we interviewed jurors, I was impressed with how intent they were on prosecuting this case."
In the time since, Eichmann has prosecuted hundreds of fish and wildlife cases. The positive energy of community members is bested only by the passion of the OSP Fish and Wildlife troopers with whom she works every day.
"I've seen the passion my community and the (OSP) troopers have for poaching crimes," she said, "I've kept those cases because they are near and dear to my heart."
Eichmann lauds the efforts of OSP Fish and Wildlife troopers. She occasionally accompanies them on patrols and sees firsthand their efforts at both building strong community connections and tracking down poachers.
"They are so passionate, and they spend time on all the cases, not just the big ones," she said.
These days, as senior deputy district attorney, Eichmann leads some of the most difficult and arduously prosecuted crimes in her district. However, wildlife crimes remain a passion and give her great personal satisfaction. Earlier this year, Eichmann prosecuted, and won, a case against a man who had poached a blacktail buck out of season. Fines and restitution in the case amounted to $8,500.
"I have always taken a hard stance with making sure they pay fines and restitution, she said. "I draw hard lines."
The Prosecutor of the Year review panel received multiple nominations for prosecutor of the year, according to OSP F and W Lieutenant Vonn Schleicher.
"Our OSP review panel unanimously selected this year's prosecutor of the year award winner, Douglas County's Senior Deputy District Attorney Allison Eichmann," Schleicher said.
The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, land owners and recreationists. Our goal is to increase reporting of wildlife crimes through the TIP Line, increase detection by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and increase prosecution. This campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations.