Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers (CPO), previously called game wardens, the “Virginia Conservation Police Notebook” provides an overview of the variety 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 actual field notes by Kim McCarthy, Executive Assistant to Major Scott Naff [Operations] and Major Bryan Young [Administration] of the Law Enforcement Division VDGIF. 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
Assisting Sheriff’s Office – On February 28, 2017, CPO Glenn Cramer was on patrol in King George County, when a call was put out by the Sheriff’s office regarding a breaking and entering in progress. Cramer was close to the location and responded. He was requested by the Deputy Supervisor to stage in the driveway. Cramer and another deputy were quickly first on scene. They made contact with the victim in her home who advised them she had heard a noise in her basement and went to check on it when she was confronted by a male suspect. The suspect fled the home. When the Sheriff’s K9 unit arrived on scene, Cramer accompanied the K9 unit providing security. The suspect’s foot tracks led to a field area where he apparently left by vehicle based on the tire tracks. The incident is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.
DGIF CPO’s Participate in Search and Rescue Training – The 11th Annual Steven Todd Dooley Search and Rescue Forum was held February 27- March 3. This training is sponsored by the Port of Virginia and the United States Coast Guard. It had 147 participants representing 32 federal, state and local agencies. The Port of Virginia says this year’s event was the largest it has ever had. This week long training had evolutions that encompassed many aspects of search and rescue operations. Boat crews had the opportunity to hone their skills in the areas of small boat handling, oil spill boom deployment, sonar operations, and search patterns. DGIF had eight officers participate in this year’s training. These officers utilized 27’ patrol boats from District’s 12 and 13. These patrol boats are outfitted with upgraded electronics packages. These vessels allow our CPO’s to effectively operate along Virginia’s coast at any time, day or night. The boat crews use the on-board sonar capabilities to locate underwater objects, and FLIR imaging to see in the dark. Norfolk Fire Battalion Chief Worley and CPO Murray facilitated the first responder breakout session. They and their guest instructor discussed radiation detection and interagency coordination. CPO Murray also presented the 2016 Boat Incident Statistics to the group.
Honesty; The Potential Difference Between a Warning and a Summons – At the conclusion of the 2016-2017 deer hunting season, CPO Cameron Dobyns spent some time looking through the agency’s deer harvest information data related to Essex County. He detected several people with potential violations. He contacted the individuals and inquired into their hunting activities on specific days based on information in the database. One subject was interviewed and quickly admitted he knew he had made a mistake. He was given a written warning for killing an antlerless deer on a non either sex day. Dobyns met with another suspect on March 05, 2017, who admitted to a buck and doe he killed, but attempted to claim he killed the doe in Westmoreland County instead of Essex County. When Dobyns showed him in the game law digest that Westmoreland also was not an either sex day on November 25, 2016, the suspect admitted to killing a doe and a buck in Essex on a day that was not legal to harvest doe deer. A magistrate summons was obtained and the suspect was charged for killing an antlerless deer on a non-either sex day.
Westmoreland County Blind Patrol – On Sunday, March 12, 2017, Sergeant Rich Goszka and CPO Dan Rabago conducted a patrol in Westmoreland County targeting abandon stationary waterfowl blinds and offshore blind stake license. The officers detected three violations of the offshore blind stake laws for further investigation.
Region IV – Mountains & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont
Too Much Time on the Phone – While working trout enforcement on Saturday, March 4th, Sergeant Carl Martin checked an angler on the Delayed Harvest Section of Passage Creek. The fisherman carried in a plastic bag a trout with the artificial lure still in its mouth. He explained he kept the fish since it swallowed the hook. He checked his phone for a copy of his fishing license, but didn’t find it. After walking back to the vehicle, the angler said he had a fishing license and kept “looking” for it on the phone. After considerable phone time by the fisherman, Sgt. Martin asked for his ID and contacted the VDGIF Dispatch to request a fishing license check. While checking, Dispatcher Ashley Durr could tell the angler was actually purchasing his licenses as we spoke on the phone! Upon being told of this “real time” purchase, Sgt. Martin made the appropriate charges.