By Molly Kirk
Photos by Courtesy of Sgt. Jessica Whirley
Each month in the Conservation Police Notes from the Field email, we at the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) are going to highlight one of our Conservation Police Officers and find out what the job means to them.
Name: Sergeant Jessica Whirley
Region and County of Assignment: Region 2, District 25 Conservation Police Sergeant – Charlotte, Lunenburg, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties
What do you love about your job as a Conservation Police Officer (CPO) for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR)?
Protecting the natural resources of our Commonwealth by enforcing laws and regulations is what I enjoy most about this position. That being said, I also love being able to educate people on outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing and recruiting new constituents.
What inspired you to become a CPO?
Since I was very young, I have enjoyed the outdoors, hunting and fishing with my family. I also knew at a very young age that I wanted to serve in the law enforcement field. With my love of the outdoors and a calling to be in law enforcement, becoming a Conservation Police Officer was my best fit.
What line of work did you do before joining the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources?
I received my master’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice in 2006. I was hired as a Conservation Police Officer in 2007. Before and during school, I worked for my mother’s company assisting her with land/home appraisals. I am now a licensed appraiser and still work with my mom part-time.
What wildlife and /or outdoor activities do you participate in on your own time?
I have been hunting with my family since the age of 5 and still have a very strong love for the sport. I hunt deer, bear, turkey, dove and duck regularly. I also enjoy a good time on the water fishing. I also currently run a beef cattle farm and have been involved with farming since I could walk.
What’s been your most memorable moment while working as a CPO?
Receiving the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association’s Wildlife Officer of the Year and the Virginia Conservation Police Officer of the Year awards in 2015 was definitely my most memorable moment. I am very proud of these accomplishments and appreciative of the recognition.
If you’re interested in a career in law enforcement with DWR, click here: https://dwr.virginia.