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From the Law Division

This past year marked our 120th anniversary in this noble profession of being “Virginia’s Wildlife Protectors” since 1903. The division’s success has been nothing less than incredible. Nearly 50 years ago, Colonel Cobb remembers hunting with his father and being thankful to see a deer track or to catch a glimpse of a turkey in the distance. While many game species have greatly expanded, other species still need our focus and protection, often due to personal greed and commercialization.

Public safety services have significantly increased over the years to include protecting our waterways. As we now connect more people to the outdoors, we are seen for our emergency response expertise by those in the woods and on the water. The specialized tracking team is exceptional and is called upon by local jurisdictions to assist with search and rescue operations.

We try to not spend much time looking back on initiatives successfully implemented and past accomplishments, but rather remain more focused on the future such as our current work on the implementation of the VCP Relevancy Plan. However, here are a few major accomplishments in 2023 of our hard-working, passionate officers and staff taken directly from our monthly VCP Rollcall Newsletters:

  • We welcomed 28 recruits, our largest Basic Academy (12th), and in terms of diversity, this class had the greatest variety of work experiences that we have ever seen in one group.
  • The K9 Team trained West Virginia Natural Resources Police’s Inaugural K9 Program.
  • Implemented the new Outstanding Accomplishment Spot Recognition Program along with the 27 recipients for each one of those months since Colonel Cobb took over Divisional leadership.
  • Held the fifth Annual VCP Awards Ceremony combined with the Leadership Development Program Cohort 1 Graduation. This was a great opportunity to formally recognize 40 officers and staff members.
  • Held Game Warden Experiences for trapping and waterfowl, focusing on traditional boots-on-the-ground techniques using hands-on approach on multiple days in the field.
  • Presented multiple sessions of the NASBLA Pursuit and Stop Course. These courses were held in partnership with the Port of Virginia and the U.S. Coast Guard. We received the necessary funding for these courses through a Port Security Grant.
  • With the 12th Basic Class Graduation, 22 new officers headed to the field to assist with staffing concerns and the division also completed the recruitment for the 13th class of 25 recruits.
  • Due to the outstanding work of the Special Operation Unit, specifically the covert agents, a Board Resolution was passed that directs the agency to take specific steps to combat the illegal trade of reptiles and amphibians. One of the main deliverables of this resolution is the establishment of four new Regional Special Agent Investigator positions.
  • Research and development were completed on the VCP Career Progression Program (CPP), which led to its full launch to include all sworn officers (Supervisors and Managers).
  • Transitioned from the establishment of the North American Wildlife Law Enforcement Accreditation (NAWLEA) Program to the operational stage of this vital national initiative, leading us to improved quality public service, networking, collaboration, and credibility.
  • Researched, developed, and implemented the Virginia Conservation Police Relevancy Plan.

With the support of our Executive Director Brown and the DWR Board, we are moving forward with the W3 (Woods*Wildlife*Water) DWR Training & Educational Center. This initiative began with selecting a W3 Project Manager who is committed to this complex ideal, which includes research, planning and development, marketing, and fundraising, including the potential for public/private partnerships.

Click here for our visitor's guide to DWR properties for all the info you need to make sure your adventure is a successful one.
  • July 1, 2024