June 27 – July 17, 2018
To increase awareness of Conservation Police Officers (CPO’s-previously called game wardens) activities, the “Virginia Conservation Police Notebook” provides an overview of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia. These reports are prepared from the officer’s field notes by Kim McCarthy, Executive Assistant to Major Scott Naff [Operations] and Major Bryan Young [Administration] of the Law Enforcement Division of DGIF. These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other outdoor enthusiasts an undeserved bad reputation.
Region I – Tidewater
Eastern Shore Goose Round-up – CPO Tony Pennino reported to the Eastern Shore after graduating from the DGIF Modified Academy on 24 May. That in itself was a big change as CPO Pennino is from Roanoke. Since then CPO Pennino has spent his time learning to recognize deer damage to agricultural crops, developing navigational skills to operate the district’s variety of patrol vessels, and acting as a translator for other law enforcement agencies (CPO Pennino is fluent in Spanish). However, Tuesday, June 26 was especially interesting. CPO Pennino assisted Wildlife Division personnel with the Resident Goose banding project. Pennino was introduced to most of the Region 1 Wildlife staff (a Field Training program requirement) all while being beaten, bitten and defecated on by some of the Eastern Shore’s resident Canada Goose population. At one point CPO Pennino was observed using newly learned ground fighting techniques to gain control of a rather uncooperative goose! By days end almost 500 resident geese sported shiny new leg bands. This program allows DGIF biologists to track the local migration habits of the geese through band recovery information. Pennino is glad this project only takes place every 4 or 5 years on the Eastern Shore.
Boating Safety Checkpoint – On Saturday June 30th, Virginia CPOs in District 15 conducted a boating safety checkpoint on Back Creek, in York County, in association with the nationwide Operation Dry Water event. District officers inspected 29 vessels during the late evening 4 hour checkpoint. They issued 7 summons and 4 warnings for boating safety violations. One BUI arrest was made for an operator of a vessel who had a BAC of .08 after being processed at the local regional jail. Several of the boaters expressed gratitude to our officers for being in the area and making sure that other boaters were sober and boating safely during this hot and busy weekend.
Operation Dry Water Weekend – Eastern Shore – Virginia Conservation Police SGT Garvis and CPO Bratton decided to kick off the Operation Dry Water weekend with a Heightened Awareness patrol utilizing the districts 27′ SAFE BOAT. They got underway from King’s Creek Marina in the Cape Charles area of the Chesapeake Bay, Northampton County. Activity was very light, and by sunset the officers had only located and inspected 4 boats. However, as they were returning to their boat slip, around 9:00pm, both officers observed a small 19′ skiff operating without the required navigational lights. CPO Bratton set an intercepting course and stopped the boat before it entered King’s Creek. On initial contact, the operator apologized for forgetting his boat navigation lights and got the plug-in bow light from under the front deck. Officers then observed the boat operator plug in the red/green combination bow light into the stern socket, and turn it on. The boat operator noticed it was wrong after a couple of minutes, however, he made no attempt to change it. The operator admitted to doing “a couple of shots of whiskey” to celebrate his brothers first cobia catch. CPO Bratton had the operator complete the seated battery of field sobriety tests. Based on his observations of the boat operator’s actions, CPO Bratton placed the subject under arrest and transported him to the Northampton County Jail. The boat operator had a final BAC of .19. The officers were assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard, Station Cape Charles. USCG was also on patrol for Operation Dry Water and assisted by taking the vessel under tow and securing it and its other passenger.
Operation Dry Water Checkpoint Leads to Arrest – On the evening of June 29th 2018 VA CPOs Greg Hall and Joe Rollings conducted a vessel safety checkpoint at DGIF landing Glass Isle in West Point. The checkpoint was being conducted in conjunction with the enhanced enforcement of alcohol impairment for Operation Dry Water weekend. During the checkpoint, Officer Rollings determined an operator that maneuvered into the checkpoint area to be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Rollings administered field sobriety tests in which the operator performed poorly. Rollings placed the subject under arrest and he later gave a breath sample at the West Point Police Office resulting in a 0.13 BAC.
CPOs on Boat Patrol Arrest Subject for OUI – On June 30th 2018 VA CPOs Roy Morris, Joseph Rollings, and Josh Thomas were on boat patrol in Gloucester County, on the York River. Approximately one hour after sunset the officers observed a pontoon boat operating in Sarah Creek not displaying navigation lights. The boat was displaying white docking lights on the bow. The officers stopped the boat and identified the operator as the boat owner. Upon making contact with him, Morris immediately smelled an odor commonly associated with the consumption of an alcoholic type beverage. In addition, the operator had glassy eyes, and slurred speech. Morris conducted SFST’s, which indicated impairment. Morris placed him under arrest and transported the suspect to the jail where a breath sample was provided with a final BAC of .10. The suspect was charged with OUI and for operating a motorboat without navigation lights when required.
Scarab Boat Operator Arrested on Several Offenses – On July 4th 2018, following the Yorktown/Gloucester Fireworks display on the York River, VA CPOs Tyler Bumgarner and Joe Rollings were on patrol of the Perrin River, of Gloucester County. The river has been known to have various incidents over previous years following the firework show as there have been stories of boats running aground due to impaired operators and medical emergencies on boats in the area. At approximately 2150 hours the officers observed a large Scarab boat entering the wake zone of the river. The boat drew both officers attention as it had numerous people on it and did not have any bow lights displayed well after sunset. Through the use of a handheld FLIR unit, Officer Rollings was able to identify the operator who later claimed that he was not operating the boat. Officer Rollings suspected the operator of being under the influence of alcohol and conducted field sobriety tests, in which the subject performed poorly. During the stop the operator was also unable to produce the appropriate documentation for the vessel. Rollings placed the subject under arrest for operating a motorboat under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office for processing. The subject also refused to submit to a breath sample analysis. Appropriate charges were taken out for all of the offenses.
Independence Day Boating Safety Checkpoint – On July 4, 2018 VA CPO Sgt. Frank Spuchesi, and Officers Amanda Nevel, Glenn Gramer, Dan Rabago and Matthew Dean conducted a boating safety checkpoint in the area of Nomni Bay located in Westmoreland. A total of 22 boats were inspected during the checkpoint where Officers issued 5 summons, 6 warnings and 1 OUI arrest. CPO Cramer transported the intoxicated subject to the Westmoreland SO where he provided a breath sample and a final BAC of .08. After the checkpoint concluded, Officers conducted a saturation patrol in the area of Colonial Beach where the town was conducting their annual 4th of July fireworks display. During the patrol, a total of 12 boats were checked. Officers issued 4 summons, 7 warnings and 1 OUI arrest. CPO Nevel transported the intoxicated subject to the Westmoreland SO where he provided a breath sample and a final BAC of .08.
Checkpoint Nabs Marijuana – On July 4, VA CPOs from D 17 conducted a checkpoint on the James River at the I 895 bridge, following a fireworks display in Richmond City. After dark, but prior to the conclusion of the fireworks display a boat was discovered headed up river towards the city. As the boat neared the checkpoint and noticed the flashing blue lights, it pulled off in a small creek for several minutes before continuing toward the checkpoint which aroused suspicion. Sgt. Valasek stopped the vessel while Officer Chester conducted the safety inspection. Once complete, Officer Chester advised he could smell marijuana in the compartment where the PFDs were stored. Upon searching the compartment, an overwhelming smell of marijuana was present. Officer Chester was able to recover a bag containing .83 ounce of marijuana wrapped in a shirt. Appropriate charges filed. It’s a good idea not to hide your marijuana in the same compartment as your PFDs.
Region II – Southside
Checkpoint at Lake Gaston Yields Intoxicated Boater – On Saturday June 30th, Sgt. Jessica Whirley, Officers Brandon Harris, Matthew Sandy, Tyler Blanks and Toby Livermore of District 25 conducted a boating safety checkpoint on Lake Gaston, in Mecklenburg County, in association with the nationwide Operation Dry Water event. District officers inspected 18 vessels during the late evening 2 hour checkpoint. They issued 4 summons and 11 warnings for boating safety violations. A total of 6 boats had alcohol on board and 4 operators were tested for alcohol consumption. One BUI arrest was made for an operator of a vessel who had a BAC of .15 after being processed at the local regional jail. Several of the boaters expressed gratitude to our officers for being in the area and making sure that other boaters were sober and boating safely during this hot and busy weekend.
Conservation Police Officers Search for Missing Two-year-old at Smith Mountain Lake – On July 5th, District 21 & 22 CPO’s did not hesitate to return to SML when a call came in that a 2 year old boy was reported missing. Several of the returning officers had worked long hours the night before (July 4th) and did not get home until early in the morning. The child’s parents had been renting a house while visiting from Texas for their annual family reunion. As they were preparing to leave, they noticed that their son had disappeared. After searching the immediate area, they located items he was last seen with and then called for help. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, Smith Mountain Lake Marine Fire Department, Virginia State Police, Red Cross, along with a search party of approximately 150 volunteers, all arrived to help search. Tragically, after seven hours of searching, the young child was located and removed from the water at a dock which was located near the home the family was renting. This was an emotional day for everyone involved and our prayers are with the family.
Joint Efforts During Operation Dry Water Results in OUI Arrest – District’s 21 & 22 conducted two Boating Safety Checkpoints on Smith Mountain Lake during Operation Dry Water. Approximately 200 hundred boats were inspected and 800 people were contacted during these operations. During the first checkpoint conducted in the Bull Run, CPO Sergeant James Slaughter and Officer Dallas Neel made an OUI arrest. The operator had a final BAC of .13.
Boating Incident Leads to OUI Arrest – CPO Leslie Wright were on boat patrol after working the fireworks event, hosted by Parkway Marina, on Smith Mountain Lake. This event attracts between 3500 and 4000 boats annually. A report of a boating incident was given out by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a vessel carrying multiple passengers that had crashed at channel marker R8. The operator of the vessel immediately started moving again and left the area. After speaking with several people in the area and looking at evidence at the scene, a suspect was identified. District 21 and 22 officers found the boat prior to it making it back to the dock in the Blackwater River. Sgt. Slaughter and Officer Wright had just arrived on scene when they were flagged down by a spotlight coming from a boat idling along in the water. Upon contact with the occupants of the boat, it was determined that the operator was under the influence of alcohol. After SFST’s were provided, Officer Wright arrested the operator for OUI. He refused to provide a breath sample at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Boat Accident on SML Results in OUI Arrest – Senior CPO Michael Morris and Officer Dallas Neel were on patrol during the fireworks event hosted by Parkway Marina on Smith Mountain Lake on July 4th when a report of a boating incident at R8 was given out by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. They arrived on scene and talked with several people in the area and determined a vessel carrying multiple passengers had crashed into a causeway at channel marker R8 and landed back in the lake on the other side. They identified the color of the vessel based on fiberglass left behind and identified a suspect after speaking with other CPO’s working the area. District 21 and 22 officers located the vessel in the Blackwater River traveling back to the dock. After making contact with the operator, Senior CPO Morris provided SFST’s and subsequently arrested him for operating under the influence of alcohol. Sgt. Slaughter, who was already at the jail with another operator arrested for OUI, performed the breath test. The final BAC for the operator was .13. Sr. CPO Morris will be obtaining additional charges as a result of the boating incident based on the fact it occurred in Bedford County.
SML Boat Patrol Nets OUI – On July 7th, Senior CPO Michael Morris and Officer Leslie Wright were on boat patrol at Smith Mountain Lake. At approximately 2315 hours, they noticed a vessel leaving the “No wake Zone” at Bridgewater Marina. As they approached the vessel and started contacting the operator and passengers on board, they suspected the operator of being under the influence of alcohol. They administered SFST’s to the operator who performed them poorly. As a result, the operator was placed in custody for operating under the influence of alcohol. The operator later refused to provide a breath sample.
Region III – Southwest
Little River Surveillance – On June 13, 2018 Senior CPO Gene Wirt was conducting surveillance on the Little River in Montgomery County. He observed an individual light up a smoking device and takes several puffs, then share this device with others beside him. Sr. CPO Wirt approached the group and seized a small amount of plant material and the pipe. Appropriate charges were placed.
CPOs Investigate “Unbearable Smells” – On June 20, 2018 Virginia CPO Corey Gardner received a call from a Lee County resident complaining about unbearable smells coming from the wooded area near her home. The caller believed the smells to be from decaying animals that may have been illegally killed deer. The caller’s home bordered a section of the Cedars Natural Area Preserve. Sgt. James Hale and Officer Gardner went to the residence of the caller. Upon arrival they immediately noticed the foul odor. On an adjacent property the officers located where an individual had illegally set up residence. They also located numerous mounds of beverage cans and food trays some exceeding 6’ in height, numerous domestic animals, and large piles of expired and decaying grocery meat. The trash, as well as other unsightly matter, covered an area approximately ½ acres in size. Appropriate charges have been made.
Possible Bear Shot at Trash Dump – On June 29, 2018 Virginia CPO Mark VanDyke was notified by Wise County Sheriff’s Office of a bear that had been shot at the trash dump site on Honey Branch Rd. in Wise Co. Wise County Deputies had stopped the vehicle in Russell County prior to Officer VanDyke’s arrival. Upon arrival Officer VanDyke spoke with the suspect who stated he had shot the bear in self-defense; while throwing his trash away at 10:00 p.m. Officer VanDyke followed the suspect back to the incident scene. At the scene the suspect was instructed to park his extended cab Chevrolet pickup in the same location that the bear was encountered. After doing so, the suspect stated he walked around the truck to the passenger side to throw out his trash when he noticed the bear was approximately 6-8 feet behind him. The suspect then opened the passenger’s side door to retrieve the 20 gauge slug ammunition from the floorboard and then opened the rear extended cab door to gain access to a single shot 20 gauge shotgun. After the suspect had the shotgun, he got back in the truck and shut the doors. While inside, he loaded the shotgun and re-exited the truck to shoot the bear. Officer VanDyke was able to recover the spent casing on the ground near the truck. The bear was not able to be located and no evidence at the scene suggested the bear was hit. With the suspect being unable to provide sufficient evidence to prove self-defense, warrants were obtained for the appropriate offenses.
Domestic Call on the New River – On June 29, 2018 CPO Sergeant Keene, Officer Boyette, and Officer Hash were meeting to travel to training when the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance in reference to a 911 call involving a distressed male subject in the New River. While in route, Wythe Sheriff’s Office dispatch advised that the situation was possibly domestic in nature because the caller said his family intended to harm him. Officers arrived on scene and located the area that the call had come from based on the cell phone location at the time of the initial call. Officers then spoke with four individuals that initially said they knew nothing about the call. Several inconsistencies in their statements prompted officers to dig deeper, eventually leading to an admission that the man who dialed 911 had been with them. During this time the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police also arrived on scene to assist in the investigation and search for the missing caller. Eventually it was determined that the group had been engaged in illegal drug use when the one male subject became fearful and fled in the direction of the river where he then called 911. Thanks to a tip from a landowner on the opposite side of the river the male caller was located safe on the opposite side and taken to a safe location by Wythe County Sheriff’s Office. At the camp, numerous drug violations were detected and one of the female individuals was found to be wanted out of Pulaski County. She was taken into custody and transported to a magistrate. Other arrests are pending lab analysis of various drug paraphernalia seized.
Juvenile with Marijuana – On June 29, 2018 Senior CPO Gene Wirt pulled into the department boat ramp in Pulaski County to start a checkpoint, when he noticed 2 young females on the boat dock. A small puff of smoke was seen and when they saw the officer pull in, they hid an object in their belongings. Officer Wirt approached the pair and questioned them about what they were smoking. One replied they were smoking cigarettes, but could not say where they were putting the butts. The female said she was only 16 and zipped up her bag. When confronted that she was underage to be smoking even cigarettes, Sr. CPO Wirt obtained a phone number for her mother and put her on speaker phone. While explaining to the parent what was suspected, the 16 year old female pulled out a marijuana pipe and a grinder, stating that was all she had. Information was obtained for juvenile petitions for possessing marijuana.
New River Patrol – On June 30, 2018 Senior CPO Gene Wirt and Officer Mark Shaw were patrolling the New River in Giles County. They observed a young man smoking a very short, hand rolled cigarette. When the officers approached, they could smell the odor of burning marijuana. The male was 17 and was seen throwing something down as the officers approached. His mother was standing beside him and upon questioning them about the smoking they finally admitted that they all had been smoking marijuana. Sr. CPO Wirt found a cigar tube which contained another unsmoked marijuana joint. The mother was charged with possession of marijuana and information was obtained for juvenile intake for the 17 year old possessing marijuana and littering.
New River Surveillance – On June 19, 2018 Senior CPO Gene Wirt was conducting surveillance on the New River in Giles County when he observed a female smoking from a yellow pipe then share it with a person near her. Upon making contact Officer Wirt observed the female suspect attempt to hide the smoking device under her feet. Officer Wirt retrieved the device and placed appropriate charges.
Overdue Kayakers Found – On June 30, 2018 Virginia CPO Derrick Rickels was leaving a boat shift on Flannagan Lake in Dickenson County and received a request for assistance from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office. Two kayakers were overdue and their parents were unsure of where they had planned to put on the river and take out. Officer Rickels used his knowledge of the Clinch River and the places most likely used by the public to direct first responders to search. The two kayakers were located and found to be safe just after 2300 hours. They had abandoned their kayaks in the woods and decided to walk out after they lost daylight. The kayakers had misjudged their float time and the water conditions. They returned the next day to retrieve their kayaks.
CPO Assists in Search for Missing Juvenile – On July 5, 2018 Virginia CPO Corey Gardner was requested to assist in a search for a missing juvenile in the Appalachia and Big Stone Gap sections of Wise County and the Cave Springs section of Lee County. Officer Gardner along with Big Stone Gap Fire and EMS, Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Appalachia Fire and EMS, Big Stone Gap Police Department, and Virginia State Police conducted early searches utilizing ATV’s, Kayaks, and Helicopters. The search continued well into the night and early Friday morning. Using FLIR and NVG’s Officer Gardner assisted in searching several wooded areas and multiple homes. Throughout the night Officer Gardner, VSP, and the Wise County Sheriff’s Department conducted multiple interviews and home searches. The search was suspended at approximately 0200 Friday morning. The juvenile was located unharmed in the early afternoon on Friday July 6th.
CPOs Can Be Found in the Safest Areas – On June 8, 2018 Officers Jason Harris and Ben Boyette were patrolling along the New River in Grayson County when they encountered a vehicle stuck in a ditch. A man standing beside the vehicle told officers that he had attempted to turn around but accidentally backed into the ditch. Officers immediately observed several indications that the man had been drinking alcohol and he told them that he had three or four beers that evening. He also admitted that the partial beer in the console of the vehicle was his and that he was “cruising some back roads not hurting anyone.” Officer Boyette administered standardized field sobriety tests on which the subject performed poorly. The subject was arrested and taken to Grayson County Sheriff’s Office where he blew a .13 BAC. After being arrested, the man told the officers he never intended to or believed he was hurting anyone. He also indicated that he was surprised to see the officers and had considered the back roads he was on to be “the safest place in Grayson County”.
Can’t Outsmart a CPO – On June 8, 2018 Officers Jason Harris and Ben Boyette were working at a DGIF boat landing on the New River checking fisherman and boaters when they encountered a group of young men that attempted to outsmart the CPO’s. From a position above the river, Officer Boyette observed three young males on kayaks fishing as they came downriver towards the landing where Officer Harris was located. When the fisherman came around the bend and into sight of Officer Harris’ vehicle they all stopped fishing and huddled together in the river. After several minutes, one of the men came into the boat landing, while the other two began to desperately paddle up river, out of sight of Officer Harris, but still within view of Officer Boyette. When the one man came to the landing he told Officer Harris that his friends had decided to keep fishing while he went to buy food. Finding this story unlikely, both officers got into their vehicle and went up river of the two men. From this position, Officer Harris launched a kayak, while Officer Boyette returned to the boat landing. Shortly thereafter, Officer Harris located the two very surprised fishermen and conducted a compliance check, which resulted in two summonses for failure to carry PFD and another for fishing without a license.
Grayson County Sheriff Requests Assistance of CPOs at Shooting Scene – On Saturday, July 14 2018; at 9:16 pm, District 31 Sergeant John Koloda and District 33 Sergeant Daniel Hall were notified through Richmond Dispatch of a request for assistance from the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office through Carroll County Sheriff’s Dispatch, concerning a report of multiple gunshots, a wounded subject and multiple drownings occurring on the New River near the Grayson-Carroll County line. Conservation Police Officers Jim Anders, Eric Rorabaugh, Andy Rutledge, Tyler Sheets, Cody Hash and K931 unit Wes Billings and “Josey” responded to the incident scene along with Sergeants Koloda and Hall. Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughn requested that CPO units assist in the Incident scene access and search for the suspect identified as being the person responsible for shooting and injuring a fellow boater with a handgun earlier in the evening. At the scene, circumstances were relayed through Grayson County Sheriff’s Department personnel, that the suspect being sought had been part of a four person group, two men and two women, which had been boating in a ten foot john boat without a motor earlier in the evening, the boat being unable to navigate a shallow stretch of the river, was taken by the occupants to the river bank. It was also relayed to the CPO’s that due to the possible involvement of Alcohol or other drugs in the incident, a domestic disturbance ensued on the bank, in which the male subject being sought, produced a handgun and shot the other male occupant of the John Boat through the arm. The Conservation Police Officers assisted Both Grayson County Sheriff’s Deputies, Sheriff Vaughn and members of the Virginia State Police K-9 and Tactical Operations Teams in the search. At approximately 1:00 am, Members of the VSP K-9, and Tactical Operations Team, along with Grayson County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Team and Conservation Officers Cody Hash and Wes Billings discovered the suspect lying in an overgrown field, near the scene of the incident and still in possession of both a handgun and a rifle. The suspect was immediately taken into custody without further incident. Charges by Grayson County Sheriff’s Office are pending in the incident. Grayson County Sheriff Vaughn and Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner relayed their appreciation to the CPO’s responding, who not only were a part of the Tactical Team employed directly in the search, but also provided surveillance of the suspect vehicle located near the scene and coordination of CPO units stationed in multiple locations at the incident. Conservation Officers responding to this event came from three of the four Districts within Region 3.
CPO Arrests Suspect for OUI – On Thursday, July 12, 2018 Senior CPO James Brooks was traveling on Midway Road in Tazewell County when he came behind a white sedan traveling at a low rate of speed. Officer Brooks followed the vehicle in question for approximately two miles. The vehicle swerved from left to right on a single lane road, its speed was erratic, and was braking when not necessary. Officer Brooks observed the operator drink from an open container of beer. Brooks pulled the vehicle over at Midway Grocery in Tazewell County. Field sobriety task were given to the suspect. After attempting the field sobriety task and performing extremely poorly, Officer Brooks arrested the suspect for Operating under the influence. The suspect was transported to the Southwest Regional Jail in Tazewell. The suspect agreed to a breath test, results of that test was .16. Subject was held by magistrate with bond.
Region IV – Mountains & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont
CPO’s Teach Kids About Fishing- Clarke County CPO Dan Hyman and newly appointed Frederick County CPO Derrick Kekic attended the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Kids Camp from June 18th-20th at the Tri State Christian Camp located in Shenandoah County. Hyman and Kekic educated over 70 children during the three days on fishing and boating in the Commonwealth. They conducted eight, 2+ hour fishing programs over the three days. The kids also got a chance to fish with the officers on Cedar Creek using hook, line and bobber. Every group was successful catching sunfish, bass, catfish or a combination of all. This event is always a great way to connect youth to fishing. We would like to thank the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for inviting us to participate each year!
PWC Operator Arrested – While on boat patrol during the July 4th holiday, CPO Sgt. Goszka and Senior Officers Landers and Sanitra observed a PWC violating the no wake zone in the Occoquan River. The PWC was stopped and it was determine that the registration was expired and that the operator did not complete a boater safety course. The operator was checked for outstanding warrants and it was discovered that he was warranted for felony larceny in Fairfax County. The subject was arrested and turned over to Fairfax County Police.
CPOs at Work – During the weekend and through the July 4th holiday D47 officers inspected 65 boats, conducted 2 safety checkpoints, performed 3 field sobriety tests, issued 28 boating summonses, issued 24 warnings. The officers contacted numerous persons fishing and issued 23 summonses for fishing without a license.
Saturation Patrol – On July 4, 2018, District 42 CPOs, Senior Officer Herndon, Senior Officer Kester, Senior Officer McGuire, Officer Ostlund and Sgt. Ham participated in a saturation patrol of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Rockingham County. The patrol mission was to ensure boating safety and compliance with fishing regulations. During the 4 hour patrol, 9 summonses were issued for a variety of violations including No PFDs, Alcohol Violations, No Fishing Licenses, and unregistered watercraft. Numerous warnings were also given along with several kayakers being advised prior to going underway of the requirement to possess PFDs on each watercraft.
Jet-Driven Kayak Aids CPO in Nabbing Spear Gun Fisherman – On July 8th, CPO Ostlund utilized the District 42 Mokai (jet-driven kayak) to patrol a hard-to-access section of the south fork of the Shenandoah River in Rockingham County. In order to access the section of the river, CPO Ostlund traveled upstream and pulled his boat through numerous sets of rapids. His hard efforts paid off when he observed a male in the middle of the river wearing a scuba mask. CPO Ostlund immediately noted that the man was keeping his hands underwater, even as he approached him displaying his badge. The suspect repeatedly attempted to conceal a loaded spear-gun about his person beneath the water and had a stringer of illegally taken game-fish. The suspect was largely non-compliant with CPO Ostlund’s commands and provided him with incomplete information concerning his identity. Officer Ostlund requested assistance from Senior CPO Dobbs, who responded to his location promptly. Both officers were able to identify the man through further questioning. The suspect was issued summonses for taking game-fish by illegal means, fishing without a license, and possessing an illegal sized bass. CPO Ostlund seized the suspect’s spear-gun and creel.
Operation Dry Water Patrol Makes OUI Arrest On Lake Anna – June 30th, during Operation Dry Water and while conducting a boating safety checkpoint on Lake Anna, Senior CPO Garrett and Sgt. Boulanger stopped a vessel which was occupied by several individuals. Garrett observed three cases of beer on board and several empty containers. The operator had the odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person and Garrett noticed that his face was flushed, his eyes were glassy, and his pupils were dilated. After performing a safety equipment check, Garrett administered FSTs to the operator, which he performed poorly. The operator was subsequently arrested for OUI and his final BAC was 0.12%.
OUI on Lake Anna – On July 7th, CPO Sgt. Boulanger and Officer Newton were on boat patrol on Lake Anna when they observed a PWC violate a no wake zone. The officers were able to catch up to the PWC and stopped the vessel, which was occupied by two 20 year old males. Officer Newton smelled the odor consistent with the consumption of alcoholic beverages and administered FSTs to the operator. The operator showed impairment and was arrested for OUI (less than 21 years of age). His final BAC was 0.10.
UTVs Caught on National Forrest – On July 8, 2018, Senior CPOs McGuire and Herndon were conducting a boat patrol by biyak on Switzer Lake in Rockingham County. The officers heard and saw what appeared to be 2 side by side UTVs drive down the nearby forest service road. After discussing their options Senior CPO Herndon drove the biyak down the lake in the direction they had come from in hopes of catching them coming back through. Senior CPOs Herndon and McGuire docked their biyak and went on to the road flagging down a car and inquired about the location of the UTVs if they had seen. The occupants of the vehicle told the officers they were parked about a half mile up the road. Senior CPO McGuire took off on foot to cut them off in case they came back down the road and Senior CPO Herndon went back to get the biyak to head up the lake to where he believed the suspects would be parked. Senior Officer McGuire came into contact with the father and son duo that were eating lunch at their truck and trailer with their dune buggies. Senior Officer Herndon responded to the location, the officers advised them of the legality of ATVs/UTVs on National Forest. A summons was issued to the father for ATV on a road/public property.
Second Offense at Quarry – On July 12, Senior CPO William Herndon was patrolling an abandoned quarry located in the city of Harrisonburg. The quarry is plagued with trespassers looking to fish and swim on the private property nestled in the city near Interstate 81. Senior CPO Herndon during his patrol located a male suspect trespassing on the property. Senior CPO Herndon questioned the suspect about being on the property; the suspect said he had no excuses. He was aware that he could not be on the property the suspect admitted that Senior CPO Herndon had issued him 2 summonses before for trespassing and fishing without a license while at the quarry. A record check did confirm that the suspect had been found guilty of being on the property once before in 2015. Senior CPO Herndon issued a summons once again for trespassing and noted that this will be the suspect’s second offense on the property.