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DWR Basic Law Enforcement Academy Graduates Class

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) Basic Law Enforcement Academy has graduated a new class of officers. The Honorable Marla Decker, Judge of the Virginia Court of Appeals, officially swore-in the new officers in the Old Hall of the House of Delegates at the State Capitol February 26, 2015.

In all, 23 new conservation police officers (CPOs) were sworn-in at the ceremony. Seven were previously sworn officers who took additional training to become CPOs, and 16 earned their credentials by attending the full academy. The group of sixteen officers completed an intensive training program that included more than 200 courses and ran for nearly 26 weeks. They will take up their assignments across the Commonwealth and proceed with field training under the direct supervision of field training officers.

This is the eighth class to graduate from the Department’s Training Academy. VDWR undertook establishing its own academy in order to tailor the program to the specific needs of Conservation Police Officers.

VDWR Executive Director Bob Duncan also spoke at the graduation ceremony noting, “The sportsmen and women of Virginia can be proud of the graduates of the 8th Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy. These new Conservation Police Officers, who have successfully completed a rigorous 26 weeks training program, will greatly enhance the Department’s ability to protect our fish and wildlife resources and provide an increased measure of public safety.”

The following is a list of the newest Conservation Police Officers and the areas where they will be assigned:

  • Zachary William Barnett, Amherst County
  • Benjamin Lee Boyette, Carroll County
  • Matthew Benjamin Cavazos, Buckingham County
  • Justin Briggs Chambers, City of Hampton
  • Michael Vincent Corrado, Southampton County
  • Joshua Luke Fisher, Rockbridge County
  • Landon Lee Foley, Henry County
  • Cody Walker Hash, Giles County
  • David Adam Keene, Wythe County
  • Joseph Caleb Manspile, Rockbridge County
  • Alberto Jesus Medina, Warren County
  • Morgan LeAllen O’Quinn, Buchanan County
  • Stephen Christopher Ritchie, Nelson County
  • George Anderson Rutledge, Alleghany County
  • Tyler Gregory Sheets, Franklin County
  • Daniel Charles Smith, Sussex County

Additionally, there were seven previously certified Law Enforcement Officers that attended the 8th Modified Basic Academy for 10 weeks to learn those skills that are specific to Conservation Police Officers. These seven CPOs have been out in the field since November and have already completed their field training.

The following is a list of the previously certified Law Enforcement Officers and their counties of assignment:

  • Donald Arthur Borst, Jr.; York County
  • Joel David Early, Jr.; Mecklenburg County
  • Christopher Allen Gilmore, Isle of Wight County
  • Robert David Glaubke, Jr.; City of Chesapeake
  • Lyndon Robert Hawkins, Prince William County
  • Michael Douglas Hyman, Frederick County
  • Daniel Gray Peacock, Lunenburg County

Conservation Police Officers must be proficient in a wide array of skills including handling of firearms; crime scene investigations; drug and operating-under-the-influence enforcement; search and rescue; boat operation and boat trailering; etc. Awards were presented at the ceremony to recognize the hard work and proficiency of the recruits and the dedication of instructors and academy staff. They are as follows:

Top Shot Award (Firearms — Presented by Officer Robert Ham)

The Top Shot Award is given to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest overall qualification scores on all firearms courses. The selection is based solely on qualification scores earned at the conclusion of the 56-hour block of firearms training held during the Academy. Recruits were required to demonstrate proficiency with their issued pistol and rifle during day and night courses in a variety of demanding situations. During the qualifying courses, this officer scored a 100 percent on four courses and a 98 on the fifth, resulting in an overall score of 99.6%. The recipient of the Top Shot Award is Officer David Adam Keene who is assigned to Wythe County. Officer Keene grew up in Richlands, Virginia. After receiving a BS from Virginia Tech, Officer Keene was a military police officer and then a Special Agent in the United States Air Force and has been deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Officer Keene and his wife Natasha have two children.

Outstanding Driver Award (Driving — Presented by Officer Frank Spuchesi)

The Outstanding Driver Award is given to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest overall qualification scores on all driving courses. The selection is based solely on scores earned during the 48-hour block of driver training during the Academy. Due to the nature of the locations our officers are required to access and patrol, four-wheel drive vehicles are among the primary focus during this training. Training for this type of vehicle goes beyond the traditional training for sedan patrol vehicles utilized by traditional law enforcement agencies. Driving courses include Asphalt Precision courses, High-Speed Reaction courses, Emergency Vehicle Operations course, Off-Road Obstacle Negotiation, All Terrain Vehicle Operation, Gravel Surface Braking Course, and three different Trailer Backing Courses. The recipient of the Outstanding Driver Award is Officer Landon Foley who is assigned to Henry County. Officer Foley earned a 97.2% score on his evaluation of these courses. A native of Patrick County, Officer Foley worked at Fairystone State Park and then with the Virginia Department of Forestry after obtaining a BS degree from Ferrum College.

Most Physically Fit Award (Physical Fitness — Presented by Officer Travis Murray)

The Most Physically Fit Award is given to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the best overall performance in the three areas tested by the VDWR Basic Training Academy. The recruits were given a pre-test when they began the Academy in September, a mid-term test and a final test. The recruits were required to participate in a physical training program each day for one hour for the entire 26-week period of the Basic Academy. The four performance areas were push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a mile-and-a-half run. The scores were compiled and reviewed by the instructors who assisted with physical training and then confirmed by Academy staff. The recipient of the Most Physically Fit Award is Officer Alberto Medina, who is assigned to Warren County. Officer Medina was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Virginia for most of his life. After a BS from Virginia Tech, Officer Medina started his own business as a personal trainer. Officer Medina and his wife Elise welcomed their first child in November 2014.

Colonel’s Award (Academic Achievement — Presented by Colonel Ron Henry)

The Colonel’s Award is presented to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest grade point average in the recruit class. This is the average of all 17 exams administered in the Academy. Exams covered 939 questions, of which, this officer answered 901 correctly. These questions addressed training objectives set by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, in the areas of Professionalism, Legal Issues, Communications, Patrol, and Investigations. Other exams taken during the course of the Basic Academy addressed the non-traditional law enforcement functions that pertain specifically to the unique law enforcement duties of the Virginia Conservation Police Officer. Some of these topics were Marine Theft Investigation; Hunting Incident Investigation; laws and regulations specifically pertaining to hunting, fishing, trapping, and boating and camouflage and concealment. In a very competitive field, this year’s recipient edged out classmates by obtaining a 95.9531 % average. The Colonel’s Award recipient is Officer David Adam Keene. Officer Keene is assigned to Wythe County.

Director’s Award (Best Instructor — Presented by Director Bob Duncan)

The Director’s Award is presented to the person voted best instructor by the recruit class. To be eligible for the award the instructor must have taught at the Basic Academy and could have been from any VDWR division (not just Law Enforcement) or any outside agency. The recipient of the Director’s Award is Officer Ian Ostlund. Officer Ostlund has been a law enforcement officer with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for three years, serving in Page County. He provides invaluable instruction to our officers in the areas of Man Tracking and Crime Scene Investigation. Officer Ostlund is recognized by the class for his knowledge of subject matter, ability to effectively convey the information, and for his rapport with the students.

Board Award (Exceptional Overall Performance — Presented by Director Bob Duncan)

The Board of Wildlife Resources Award is given to the recruit who displays exceptional overall performance during the entire course of training. The recipient was selected for his motivation, professionalism, peer leadership, and for being an inspiration to others. He is also recognized for his support of the Academy and staff by providing outstanding logistical and administrative support. The recipient of the Board Award is Officer David Adam Keene who is assigned to Wythe County.

  • February 27, 2015