Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
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. Don’t let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia’s sportsmen!
Region I – Tidewater
On March 30 and 31, 2017, Sr. Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Frank Spuchesi, assisted by CPO Glenn Cramer, conducted All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) training for the King George County Sheriff’s Office. Training courses were provided to both new operators as well as a refresher course that was provided for those deputies who had previously received training by the DGIF. The Sheriff’s Office recognized both CPO’s with a post on their Facebook page.
Region II – Southside
Statement Leads to Arrest – On March 28, 2017, Senior CPO Brandon Harris had just returned to his patrol vehicle from checking anglers at Conner Lake in Halifax County when a vehicle pulled into the parking area. As Officer Harris spoke to the two occupants of the vehicle, one subject stated that he was only going to watch his companion fish because he did not have a valid fishing license. Officer Harris bid his companion good luck and drove away from the parking area. Once out of sight, Brandon concealed his patrol vehicle and returned to the lake on foot to observe the two subjects. Upon returning, he observed the subject who claimed to be unlicensed walk back to the vehicle and retrieve a fishing pole. After checking the parking area several times to be sure Officer Harris had left for good, the subject began to fish and even caught one. Officer Harris approached the two individuals and discovered that the subject indeed did not have a fishing license. Brandon ran the subject’s information and found that he was also wanted out of the City of Chesapeake. The subject was arrested without incident and summoned for the fishing license violation.
Trout Heritage Day and Youth Spring Turkey Hunting Day – On April 1, 2017, Trout Heritage Day on the Pigg River in Franklin County was one of the best yet for the hundreds of participants. The weather was perfect, as was the fishing success. Blake Ingram, from Boones Mill, [shown in the attached photo] landed a trophy 9lb, 4oz rainbow trout on Saturday morning. Youth and Apprentice Spring Turkey hunting weekend was also very successful for many first time hunters as well.
Region III – Southwest
Unsafe Driving Leads to Arrest – On March 25, 2017, Senior CPO Daniel Ross was on patrol in Scott County. Officer Ross was patrolling along the Clinch River when he observed a black Chevrolet pickup traveling west on Route 72. The pickup was missing a front windshield and was occupied by two individuals wearing safety glasses. Officer Ross turned on the vehicle that appeared to accelerate to avoid apprehension. Officer Ross attempted to catch up to the vehicle. After about 3 miles, Officer Ross was able to see the vehicle and shortly thereafter got it stopped. He identified the driver and it was immediately obvious that their high rate of speed with no windshield had an impact on them. He removed the driver from the vehicle to administer field sobriety tests. Officer Ross obtained consent to search the drivers person and found 12 Percocet in the drivers pocket. The driver was unable to produce a valid prescription and was arrested for possession of schedule II narcotic along with unsafe/defective equipment and no state inspection.
Region IV- Mountains, Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont
Angler Admits to Getting Greedy – On March 9, 2017 at approximately 12:15 p.m., CPO Sergeant Carl Martin began surveillance at Hogue Creek while the trout stream was being stocked. As he took notes in the early afternoon, two anglers walked downstream with their dog. They later returned to their vehicle with trout and left the area. Sgt. Martin continued surveillance and then began checking anglers in the evening. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the same fisherman from earlier, returned to his car with a limit of trout (and his dog) and opened the trunk. Sgt. Martin walked towards the angler and asked how he was doing. When the angler turned and saw Sgt. Martin, he immediately slammed the trunk closed. Sgt. Martin observed a Styrofoam cooler, and he asked the angler if he was going to put the trout in it. Sgt. Martin then asked the fisherman if there were trout in the cooler, and he replied ‘yes.’ the Sgt. explained to the fisherman his observations when they were at the stream earlier in the day. The angler, who returned alone and in a different vehicle, opened the cooler to reveal a limit of trout. When asked why the angler returned to the stream and caught a second limit of trout, the fisherman said, “I got greedy.”
CPO Educates Wolf Scouts – On March 21st, Senior CPO Rich Landers met with the Wolf Scouts of Pack 1160’s Den 9 in Reston (Fairfax County). He discussed his job, training, conservation, and safety in the outdoors. The Pack’s favorite parts of the presentation were checking out his patrol vehicle and hearing about the various ways he gets to patrol–hiking, biking, boating, and by ATV. CPO Landers discussed the many ways VDGIF helps to make outdoor sports like hunting and fishing accessible to people with disabilities. In a part of Virginia where outdoor sports like hunting and fishing aren’t as prevalent as in some other parts of the state, meeting a CPO was a great and very interesting experience for the boys. Many of them now have plans to become CPOs when they are older.
“We really appreciated CPO Landers making himself available for the scouts, and his ability to make this such a meaningful and engaging presentation”. Dan Ambrose, Den 9 Leader
Senior Officer Kenneth Williams Awarded NASBLA Boating Officer of the Year for 2016
Senior Officer Williams’ outstanding efforts in boating safety education and boating law enforcement, as well as his dedication to training as a member of the Boating Cadre, were all an integral part of his selection. Williams is assigned to Northumberland County.
“Ken engages in numerous boater education opportunities in and around the northern neck of Virginia, where he uses his expertise to provide instruction and education to the public. His knowledge and understanding of boating laws make him a very effective enforcement officer as well as an instructor and mentor for our new officers,” said Major Scott Naff of DGIF.
Senior Officer Williams has served the boating community in the Virginia’s northern neck since 2006. He conducted 35 on-water boat patrols and 101 boat inspections on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in a five-county area in 2016. Williams is a certified criminal justice instructor and serves on the agency’s boating training cadre. Officer Williams led his district with 30 boating arrests, 5 of which were alcohol related.
During 2016, Williams also assisted emergency management personnel with inventorying debris and placing hazard markers in the Rappahannock River in the aftermath of a tornado; assisted the Virginia Port Authority when a cargo ship lost a portion of its load in the Chesapeake Bay; and he responded to a distress call in the Coan River that resulted in the rescue of a sailboat operator through rough waters and extreme wind chill.
NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety.