July 28 – August 17, 2021
To increase awareness of Conservation Police Officers’ (CPOs, or 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 of the Law Enforcement Division of DWR. 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
Missing Person Recovered by CPOs – On August 14, 2021, Conservation Police Officers Nevel, Dobyns, and Thomas responded to assist the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue for a missing woman who required medical attention. Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office reported the subject missing from a residence with the last known contact at noon the day before. Officer Nevel provided logistical support at the command center organizing the waterborne search between DWR, VMRC, and Smith Point Sea Rescue. Northumberland County Sheriff’s Office, State Police, and several other agencies began the search on land. Officers Dobyns and Thomas launched a boat to begin searching on water near the subject’s residence. After a short time, Officers Dobyns and Thomas recovered the missing subject in a shallow creek near her home. This multi-agency response displayed the importance of teamwork and fostering good working relationships with partner law enforcement agencies. This teamwork allowed this incident to be brought to closure quickly.
Region II – Southside
Annual Leesville Lake Association Meeting – In late July, Officer Cory Harbour attended the Leesville Lake Association meeting as a special guest. Officer Harbour’s presentation was to a group of approximately 80 association members. His discussion topics including CPO roles and responsibilities on the Lake, boating safety equipment, common boating violations, and ways to report violations. The group was very engaged, asked many questions, and very appreciative of DWR and Officer Harbour’s willingness to accept the invitation and attend their meeting.
Region III – Southwest
District 31 CPOs take Advantage of an Outreach Opportunity – CPOs manned a booth at the New River Valley Fair during the last week of July 2021. CPOs addressed local concerns of the newly discovered CWD disease, in Montgomery County, and how it will affect the normal hunting activities of all Southwest Virginia hunters. Officers also discussed employment opportunities, specialized programs, licensing information, the new DWR text tip line, and nuisance wildlife suggestions. CPOs participating in the event included Billings/K9 Molly, Peake, Rutledge, Shaw, Wirt, and Sgt. Koloda.
CPO Conducts K9 Demo – On July 30, 2021 Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke and his K-9 partner Coal conducted a K-9 demo for a church teen/youth group in Russell County. Officer VanDyke spoke on the role and responsibilities of DWR’s K-9 units. Prior to the K-9 Demo the youth group had just completed a tube float on the Clinch River. This gave Officer VanDyke an opportunity to speak about boat and water safety. Officer VanDyke spoke on the use of a PFD during his presentation. After the presentation, students and staff were able to meet and interact with Coal.
McGruff Meets McGrace-Southampton County National Night Out Event- On August 3rd, 2021 Sergeant Woodruff, Officer Braziel, and K9 Grace took part in the Southampton County National Night Out Event. They brought furs, antlers, and turkey fans to display for all. This event was a huge success and brought together multiple police, fire, and EMS agencies, along with many other agencies. Hundreds of children and adults turned out for the event. Sergeant Woodruff and Officer Braziel spread the word about what we do as CPOs while K9 Grace met plenty of new friends, including McGruff!
K9s and Handlers Provide Presentation at “Touch a Truck” – On Aug 14, 2021 K-9 Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke and his K-9 partner Coal, conducted a K-9 presentation at the annual “Touch a Truck” in Tazewell County. The event was for local students from all grade levels to meet first responders. Students were able to sit in and see firsthand the equipment first responders use daily. Officer VanDyke spoke on the role and responsibilities of DWR’s K-9 units. Students and parents were surprised at the abilities and daily duties of the K-9’s. Students were able to meet and interact with Coal and set in Coal’s patrol vehicle.
K9s and Handlers Attend Outdoor Show – Officers Hennaman, DiLuigi, and Brazil along with K9s Waylon, Lily, and Grace were assigned to the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show for supporting the DWR display for the duration of the show. The Officers and their K9 partners contacted hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts from around the state, and answered questions and introduced their K9 partners to the public.