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Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

March 27 – April 16, 2019

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.

Region I – Tidewater

Wanted Suspect Arrested by CPO after Crashing Motorcycle – On Saturday March 30, Virginia CPO Chris Smith was patrolling in the City of Chesapeake on I-464.  He noticed a motorcycle that had just crashed at an exit ramp and stopped to render aid to the rider.  Upon speaking to the rider about injuries, CPO Smith determined that something was amiss and began to question the rider about the owner of the motorcycle and his driver’s license. The rider tried to re-start the motorcycle after telling CPO Smith that he was on a test ride from a local Harley Davidson dealership and was very evasive about his ID and driver’s license.  The rider suddenly ran from the scene over a fence and into a neighborhood. CPO Smith apprehended the fleeing subject and contacted Chesapeake PD.  The subject was wanted by the PD for an earlier high speed pursuit in excess of 100 mph that day in the city on the motorcycle.  He was also wanted for several misdemeanor and felony warrants in other jurisdictions. Multiple charges were placed for unauthorized use of a vehicle, reckless driving, resisting arrest and eluding/evading a police officer.

Spotlight Complaint Leads to Arrest of 13 Time Convicted Felon – On March 31, Virginia CPO Krista Adams was working an area in the upper end of New Kent County due to a deer spotlighting complaint.  At 2:30 am, CPO Adams saw a vehicle on the roadway and heard a single pistol shot come from the vehicle.  CPO Adams conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and as soon as the vehicle stopped, two of the occupants exited the vehicle and attempted to walk away from the scene, but were quickly detained. The vehicle had 4 male occupants who had been drinking alcohol.  Permission was obtained to search the vehicle and some spent and live 9mm cartridges were found in the vehicle.  Adams also located a small quantity of marijuana.  Virginia State Police and the New Kent Sheriff’s Department assisted in looking for the firearm used and found a 9mm Glock magazine that was located under the passenger side of the vehicle.  A 9mm Glock pistol was located about 100 yards away from the vehicle in the adjacent field.  It was determined that the individual that had shot from the vehicle was a 13 time convicted felon who lived nearby and was coming home from a party.  The felon is currently being held at Henrico East Jail without bond.  Charges were placed for a felon possessing a firearm, possession of marijuana and discharging a firearm from a vehicle on a public highway.

Boat Litterbug Nabbed – On March 14, 2019 Virginia CPO B. Chester was contacted by the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a boat that had been dumped on a vacant property.  Officer Chester responded to scene later that day and was unable to locate a HIN number on the boat.  There was heavy damage to both sides of the boat where the registration numbers would have been displayed.  It appeared that someone had gone to great lengths to ensure that the registration was obliterated.  During a search of the inside of the boat, Officer Chester was able to locate documents that led him to a subject in Chesterfield County.

Officer Chester responded to the subject’s residence to attempt to conduct an interview, but the subject was not home at the time.  After speaking with a neighbor, it became apparent that the boat had never been at that location.  Officer Chester was eventually able to make contact with the subject by phone.  The initial suspect indicated that one of the documents that were found in the boat belonged to a van that he had recently sold.  The subject was able to provide the name and phone number of the person that he sold the van to.

Officer Chester conducted several searches in LINX, and Go Outdoors, and developed leads on the location of the subject that the van was sold to.  On 03/22/2019 Officer Chester was able to locate the new suspect’s residence in the City of Richmond.  While speaking with a female at the residence, Officer Chester was able to observe a large tandem axle trailer as well as an outboard motor in the back yard.  A couple of hours later Officer Chester received a phone call from the subject that he was looking for.  During the phone call the subject admitted to dumping the boat on the property in Dinwiddie County.

A Little Too Late to Do the Right Thing Now – On April 13, 2019, opening day of spring turkey season, CPO Cameron Dobyns was traveling down a back road in Essex where he’d been sitting in the rain watching for possible road hunters since first light. When leaving the area, a truck passed him that was occupied by three camouflaged subjects. Dobyns recognized the driver of the vehicle as a previous customer of his for game violations during deer season. Dobyns turned around and headed back down the dead end road. The vehicle had stopped at the end of the road and the passengers had exited the vehicle. Dobyns observed them for a moment with binoculars then continued towards them. When he was observed approaching, the subjects ran back to their vehicle and quickly drove into the farm and stopped at the barns. When Dobyns approached and began to investigate what they were up to, and whether or not they had permission to be on the farm, the male driver became extremely agitated. Dobyns observed a mature male gobbler in the bed of the truck and questioned who had killed it. The driver, a 68 year old Essex County man, stated he had killed it and showed Dobyns his notched tag. As Dobyns questioned the subject about where the bird was killed, the man became more agitated. The bird had been killed on another farm miles away and the subject was in violation of fail to check without unnecessary delay upon vehicle transport. All three subjects in the vehicle had cell phones. The suspect claimed he intended to check it in at a check station as he always did with his turkeys. Dobyns informed him that spring turkey had to be checked in electronically and he had driven past a check station to their current location even if that was his intent. During the interview, the suspect acknowledged that he has checked in his deer by phone and is familiar with the system. In his agitated state he requested to be given a ticket and stated his intention to go to court. Dobyns complied with the suspect’s request.

Region II – Southside

Suspicious Vehicle in the State Forest – CPO Andrew Howald was patrolling the Appomattox /Buckingham State Forest in the evening of March 25th when he saw some turkeys in the woods near the end of one of the roads.  He returned back by that location shortly afterwards and found a vehicle parked in the middle of the road where the turkeys were with the doors open and no one in the vehicle.  He quickly located a female in the woods near the vehicle and asked what was going on and if she was looking for turkeys. The female said she was just looking for sticks which created more suspicion.  A male subject then appeared in the area with a large knife strapped to his side and also said they were looking for sticks; both subjects seemed very nervous and would not look at Andrew while speaking to him. Officer Howald gained consent to check for any more weapons on the subjects and contacted CPO Stephen Ritchie to back him up after learning that the male subject was wanted out of Florida.  Officer Howald again asked them if they had been hunting turkeys or had any turkey parts or guns in their vehicle to which they replied no and gave consent for him to search the vehicle to verify their response.  Officer Howald quickly discovered why they were nervous as he discovered what appeared to be methamphetamine pipes and methamphetamine in the vehicle. The male subject claimed all of the drugs were his and was arrested then transported to the magistrate and jail, though Florida was not extraditing on their charges, Officer Howald placed felony drug charges against him.

Knowledge is Power – CPO Eric Dotterer recently took the opportunity to educate a new generation of outdoor enthusiast at the Brosville Public Library in Pittsylvania County.  CPO Dotterer energetically entertained a group of 4 and 5 year olds with the furs and skulls of some of the animals that can be found in their backyard.  The educational adventure ended with a “what to do when you encounter wildlife”.  It is safe to say that the program was enjoyed by all that attended.

Back On The Water – On March 10, 2019, CPO Brett Clawson and CPO Eric Dotterer took the opportunity to enjoy a “semi-warm” day on Smith Mountain Lake with an unscheduled boat patrol. Though the weather was not warm enough for a tan, the pair was able to meet a few fishermen. There were many positive contacts and two summonses were issued for boat safety violations.

Wanted Subject Found Hiding In The Attic – On March 10, 2019, CPO Bruce Young conducted a follow-up on a deer carcass located behind a subject’s house that had appeared to of been hanging for several months.  Information regarding this carcass was obtained from a Deputy who had recently checked the residence for a possible wanted suspect.  CPO Young made several knocks and heard movement inside of the residence.  Eventually, a female subject came to the door.  CPO Young asked the female subject if anyone else was home, and the female subject replied “No”, but then looked back inside the residence.  Based off his experience, he knew that meant “Yes.”  After some conversation, CPO Young received consent to search the residence.  He noticed the ceiling attic door was cracked open, and asked the female one last time for everyone’s safety if someone was up there.  The female subject replied “He’s up there.”  Using an old tactic, CPO Young opened the drop down ceiling door, announced his presence, and advised that he would “sic” his dog up there if he didn’t comply.  The suspect came down without any conflict and was placed in custody for an outstanding Warrant.  Once in custody, CPO Young provided the suspect his Miranda Rights’ and questioned him about the carcass.  Based off the information provided, and a follow-up, it was determined to be a legal harvest by one of his friends and was given to him for deer meat.  A verbal warning was issued regarding the possession of the carcass, and the suspect was transferred over to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office for processing.

Creative Solution Resolves Bear Problem – On March 15, 2019, after stocking trout on the Upper Smith, CPO Dale Owens received a call of a nuisance bear at Kreager Woodworking’s in Patrick County. The bear was reported to be living in some of the out buildings.  CPO Owens borrowed a trap from the dog pound and set it for about 3 hours but didn’t see the bear again.  He picked the trap up and reset it the next day after his Kibler trout stocking.  It only took about 30 minutes before the bear walked right into the trap!  CPO Owens coordinated with Biologist Dan Lovelace and it was transported and released at the at the Hall Mountain track of Fairy Stone Farms.

Boat Incident – On March 13, 2019, CPO Dallas Neel and SGT Jamie Slaughter responded to a boat accident on SML that involved a boat and a barge.  A caller had reported that there was a sinking boat that had just been run over by a barge.  All occupants of the barge were safely removed and uninjured, but the boat was upside down and tied up.  Officers were able to recover the boat and load it back onto its trailer the following morning with the assistance of the Smith Mountain Lake Fire and Rescue Team.  Though the boat (a Triumph) had some water damage, it withstood the collision with what appeared to be very little damage.

Request for Assistance – On March 14, 2019, a Bedford County Sheriff’s Deputy requested assistance looking for a missing suicidal man on the James River in Big Island VA.  The man had been missing since March 1, and his phone pinged in the area as inactive, leading investigators to believe that he may be deceased in the river.  Officers from Districts 22 and 23 joined efforts to assist Bedford County, along with State Police and the Lynchburg Police Department.  Together they searched 9 miles of shore line by land and water.  Unfortunately, the individual still remains missing.

CPO Assists Commonwealth Attorney – CPO Cory Harbour has developed a good working relationship with the Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and was asked by an Assistant CA to help them in apprehending a subject for whom they have multiple cases pending.  They contacted Cory because they had been informed that the subject would be hunting with a firearm during the past season while he is under an extensive protective order stating he is not to be in possession of any firearms.  Officer Harbour utilized his resources and made multiple attempts to locate the subject hunting during the season but was unsuccessful.  He did not give up after the season; instead he verified that the subject had checked in two deer killed with a firearm through the game checking system. Recently, Officer Harbour along with CPO Stephen Ritchie made contact with the subject at his residence about killing the deer and he admitted that he had killed them with a 30-30 rifle.  The subject surrendered the rifle to the officers and charges are now pending against him.  The Commonwealth Attorney was quick to thank Cory for apprehending the subject after he heard about what he had done.

First Aid and Summonses – CPO Cory Harbour conducted surveillance of four people fishing from the pier on Ivy Creek Pond in the City of Lynchburg.  The pond is an urban program water within the trout stocking program and is stocked through April 30th.  Cory observed all of the subjects fishing and then approached them to check their licenses and creel; however, when he made contact with the group he discovered that one of them had accidently cut their hand with a knife.  CPO’s are trained in basic First Aid and carry a small first aid kit in their vehicles so Cory was able to retrieve his kit and help the subject clean and bandage his injury.  Officer Harbour then returned to his original purpose for contacting them and asked to see everyone’s license; unfortunately no one in the group had either a fishing license or a trout license which is also required during months the pond is stocked with trout.  Appropriate charges were placed on all of the individuals.

Region III – Southwest

Not Just Boys Being Boys – On March 23, 2019 CPOs Lee Wensel and Gene Wirt were conducting surveillance on the Peppers Ferry Boat Ramp in Pulaski County.  The officers observed two young males trespass onto adjourning property, litter, break beer bottles on the bridge pillars and smoke from an electronic cigarette.  Wirt and Wensel approached the pair and determined that they were only 12 and 13 years old.  Guardians for the two were called and information turned over to juvenile intake for the violations.

Fisherman Checked after Smoking was Observed – On March 28, 2019, CPO Gene Wirt was conducting surveillance on fishermen on Little River in Montgomery County.  After about an hour of observation, Officer Wirt saw a male smoke from a small silver smoking device and place the object back into his pocket.  Officer Wirt approached the man, checked his license and confronted him about smoking from an unusual device.  A small bag of green leaf plant material was seized along with a ¼ inch deep well mechanics socket that he was using as a pipe.  A summons was issued for possession of marijuana.

District 33 Protector Coin Recipient – On Thursday, March 28, 2019, CPO Tyler Sheets, along with District 33 Sergeant Daniel Hall presented James “Jimmy” Anderson with O.P.S Protector Challenge Coin #37. Mr. Anderson has been an integral part of the Hunter Education Program in Washington County for nearly 25 years, and has influenced numerous lives in the surrounding communities. Jimmy’s efforts have been greatly appreciated by the many Game Wardens and Conservation Police Officers that have worked Washington County since the 1996. Without volunteers like Mr. Anderson, conservation police officers would be tasked with conducting hunter education courses entirely by themselves; which would greatly impact the amount of time spent in the field protecting the public and our natural resources. We are very thankful and proud to have someone like James Anderson working alongside the officers in District 33.

Elk Release Site Clean-Up – CPO Matthew Arnold attended the annual Elk Release Sight Cleanup held in Buchanan County. The cleanup is hosted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with DGIF and Boy Scouts of America attending. Total, over 120 people from multiple states and across Virginia attended to paint fences, mow food plots, remove truckloads of old mining cables, and pick up stones from the fields. Another major ongoing project is a brand new viewing site at the original release location for Virginia’s Elk Restoration Project. Materials and construction was provided by the Boy Scouts, allowing many of the young men to earn their eagle badges during the construction. CPO Arnold helped in the cleanup and was able to field multiple questions about the elk, law enforcement, and general questions about Buchanan County. This cleanup is vital in maintaining the elk habitat in Buchanan County and the volunteers dedicate time, money, and effort in supporting the Elk Project.

“Taste of the Outdoors” – On Thursday, March 28th, 2019, CPOs Joel Early and Nikita Burke attended the Annual Lebanon Baptist Associations “Taste of the Outdoors” event in Washington County.  Along with Biologists David Kalb and Steve Owens, the officers were able to interact with estimated 900-1100 constituents from Southwest Virginia.  Officers answered many questions and spoke with numerous adults and children about the state’s natural resources, as well as the Game, Fish and Boating laws and regulations of Virginia.

Beautiful Opening Day on Trout Heritage Waters – On Saturday, April 6, 2019, fishermen of all ages enjoyed a beautiful opening day on Trout Heritage waters in Tazewell County on Lakes Lincolnshire and Witten and Dunford Park. These waters were packed with over 300 fishermen. Senior CPO James Brooks made contact with a host of fishermen from all age groups. Most were grateful for the warm weather and a chance to be outside enjoying some trout fishing and being with their families. Officer Brooks had the opportunity to interact with an “early” fisherman, when he observed a male subject fishing an hour prior to the opening. When Officer Brooks inquired as to why he was the only one fishing, when all the other fishermen were standing at their vehicles, the gentleman replied “the early bird gets the worm”. The appropriate summons was issued.

Large Trap with Teeth Causes Concern – On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, Senior CPO James Brooks responded to a complaint of a subject taking a bear during closed season in Tazewell County. During the course of the investigation, it was found that no charges could be placed concerning the illegal kill due to statute of limitation concerns. However, while investigating the incident, Senior Officer Brooks discovered a large trap with ‘teeth’ set upon its jaws, set near the driveway to the suspects residence. The trap was apparently made for a large animal and posed a threat to humans and domestic animals as well.  While no admission was given by the suspect as to the traps purpose, Senior Officer Brooks was able to establish probable cause, which culminated in charges regarding the trap. The appropriate charges were obtained and served.

Turkey Hunter “Wasn’t Right” – On Saturday, April 6, 2019, while working the Trout Heritage Day event in Smyth County, Conservation Police Sergeant Dan Hall received information from the Wildlife Crime line in reference to an individual hunting turkey on the Youth / Apprentice Turkey Hunting opening without being accompanied by a youth or apprentice hunter.  This call was in Washington County near the Clinch Mountain WMA, where multiple CPO units were assigned for the CMWMA Trout Fee Area Opening. Sergeant Hall contacted and relayed the information to Conservation Police Officer Tyler Sheets, who was on CMWMA and within a few miles of the given location. Upon locating the suspect’s vehicle, Officer Sheets hid his patrol vehicle and began surveillance of the area. A short time later, Officer Sheets contacted a male subject that was observed walking out of the woods while possessing a firearm, turkey decoy, and turkey calls. After a short interview, the subject admitted to hunting turkey that morning and stated that he knew what he was doing “wasn’t right”. The appropriate charges were placed in the incident.

Catching Trout Poachers Using CPO Teamwork – On April 3, 2019 CPO Akers and Sergeant Keene conducted surveillance at Gullion Fork Ponds, a designated stocked trout water in Wythe County.  The officers observed two individuals that quickly caught their limit of trout and returned to their vehicle.  Sergeant Keene observed both individuals fillet all twelve trout and throw the head, bone, and tails on the ground in the parking lot.  Another individual drove into the parking lot and began speaking with them.  Part of their conversation included that they were going to go to Marion and continue fishing.  The individuals finished packing up their equipment to include cleaning their fillet board with a rag.  As they got into the vehicle, the driver threw the rag over into the bushes.  They left the area and the officers inspected the unsightly pieces of trout in the parking lot and the litter.  Sergeant Keene contacted Officer Sheets in the neighboring district about what he had overheard and provided a description of the individuals, their vehicle, and the name of the registered owner.  Approximately an hour later, Officer Sheets located the vehicle parked along the South Fork of the Holston River in Smyth County.  Officer Sheets observed the individuals fishing and made contact with them where he conducted a compliance check and an interview.  The individuals were surprised that Officer Sheets knew they had been fishing in Wythe County and eventually admitted to catching their limit of trout and showed Officer Sheets the fillets that were still in their vehicle.  They admitted to throwing the trout on the ground but would not admit to throwing the rag.  Officer Sheets charged the individuals with fishing after obtaining their daily limit of trout and Officer Akers plans to charge both individuals with litter.  This was a great example of team work executed by two districts and multiple officers to catch two elusive trout poachers taking advantage of our natural resources and stealing an opportunity from another angler.

Anglers Charged Fishing in Closed Lake – On Friday, April 5th, 2019, CPO Joel Early was conducting a scheduled patrol of Clinch Mountain WMA and Laurel Bed Lake in Russell County prior to the opening of the Trout Fee Fishing area waters on Saturday, April 6th. Upon arriving at Laurel Bed Lake on the WMA, Officer Early observed two subjects fishing from a boat on the lake. Officer Early made contact with both subjects to investigate their observed actions, due to the Lakes closure, as well as Big Tumbling creek and all tributaries; prior to the opening on April 6th.  After contact was made and during the interview process with the subjects, Officer Early found that earlier in the day, both were approached by CPO Nikita Burke, as they were about to launch their boat to fish, and advised that the lake was closed to fishing prior to Saturday. After Officer Burke left the area, both subjects decided they were going to fish the lake, even after being advised of its closure. Both well informed anglers were charged appropriately in the incident.

Wildlife Checkpoint on Clinch Mountain WMA – On Sunday, April 7th, 2019, CPOs Joel Early, Nikita Burke, K-9 Senior Officer Wes Billings and “Josey”, and Sergeant Daniel Hall conducted an approved wildlife checkpoint on Clinch Mountain WMA.  The officers contacted (64) vehicles, with 145 fishermen and constituents occupying them. The officers found violations, which included fishing without Freshwater Licenses, fishing without the daily Fee Fishing Area Permit, no Daily or Seasonal WMA Access Permit, Improper Display of Boat Registration, Making a False Statement to Obtain Resident Licenses and possession of more than the daily creel limit for trout.  The violations were addressed accordingly, with both charges being placed and warnings given, based on investigation of the circumstances related to each specific incident encountered.

A Pleasant and Fun Filled Family Weekend – During the Trout Heritage opening weekend  and the opening of Clinch Mountain WMA Trout Fee Fishing Area waters and the (2) Days prior to opening Day, Region 3, District 33 Conservation Police Officers James Brooks, George Shupe, Tyler Sheets, Matthew Arnold, Joel Early, Nikita Burke, along with assistance from Region 1, District 4 Officer Charles Leftwich, Region 3, District 32 Officer Eric Rorabaugh, K931 unit Senior CPO Wes Billings and “Josey”, and Sergeant Daniel Hall performed (30) uniformed and covert patrols on (4) Lakes, (7) miles of designated stocked trout and Trout Fee Fishing Area Streams in (4) Counties, with water resources owned or controlled by DGIF, US. Forest Service and the Towns of Tazewell, Marion, and Chilhowie. These officers’ efforts resulted in a pleasant and fun filled family weekend outdoor experience with the focus on fishing across these areas of the Commonwealth. Participation and visitation estimates ranged from approximately (300) at Lakes Whitten and Lincolnshire in Tazewell County, (150-200) at Holston River, Middle Fork at Marion and Chilhowie, (50) at Bear Tree Lake / USFS – Damascus, to (845) Daily Fishing Permits sold on Saturday and Sunday for CMWMA, as well as over (1460) motor vehicles being counted, as visiting the WMA during the weekend.

Region IV – Mountains & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont

Illegal Method Used to Take Fish in Trout Waters – Senior CPO William Herndon was assigned to a trout stocking at Slate Lick Lake/Slate Lick Run in the George Washington National Forest located in western Rockingham County. CPO Herndon had concealed himself in the wooded area adjacent to Slate Lick Run where a couple of citation Brook trout had been stocked. Approximately four hours later an adult male and female with two young children began to fish at this location. The father began to fish and pointed out the trophy fish to his wife who briefly fished. She went back to the bank and retrieved a landing net and entered the water below the citation brook trout. She walked slowly in behind the fish and finally netted the fish and got it to the bank with the help of her husband. She had photos of her with the citation fish taken by her husband. Once the fish was on the stringer CPO Herndon came out from his concealed location and made contact with the adults. The female received a summons for using illegal methods to take fish in trout waters. Both parents were warned concerning the contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

CPOs Assist in Locating Missing Teen with Autism – CPOs Inge, Chaffin, Guizar, Goff and Sgt. Ham responded with a ATV and UTV to assist Albemarle County with the search for a missing teen with autism.  Officers assisted in searching a densely wooded area starting on the Shenandoah National Park behind the care facility where the teen resides.   A VDEM Search team located the boy approximately .6 miles from the facility around 2:15am.  The teen was found safe and in good spirits suffering only minor scratches.

CPOs Work Together to Get the Job Done – March 7, 2019, Senior CPO McGuire and Sgt. Ham were patrolling the Braley Pond area of Augusta County.  After watching the area for a half hour, Senior Officer McGuire began walking around the trout pond checking licenses and checking creel.  Sgt. Ham continued watching the area concealed in the wooded area around the pond.  When McGuire began checking licenses Sgt. Ham observed a subject remove something from his pocket and placed it in a creel bag next to him then placed other items over top of the item.  As McGuire began moving towards the subject he retrieved the item from his bag and placed it in his pants pocket and continues to adjust the item in his pocket as McGuire approached.  Ham alerted McGuire of the suspicious activity.  McGuire questions the suspect about the item which he claims was a rag, upon pulling the rag out of his pocket to show McGuire a glass smoking device commonly used for smoking Methamphetamine fell out on to the ground.   During a search incident to arrest a small bag of Methamphetamine was located.  Additionally, another smoking device was located in the bag of the other subject fishing alongside the first subject.  Both subjects were arrested for possession of Methamphetamine.

Hunting and Killing of Waterfowl During Closed Season – On April 4th, 2019 Senior CPO William Herndon was dispatched to the illegal hunting of waterfowl on a private pond in western Rockingham County. CPO Herndon responded to the area and spoke with the landowner and her son. They advised that they had a guest at the pond training their Labrador retriever and they had been shooting skeet. CPO Herndon did locate several shell casings and found evidence of where skeet shooting had taken place. After leaving the residence CPO Herndon was able to make contact with the complainant. He advised that he had witnessed a goose being shot and had videoed ten minutes of the activity on his phone. CPO Herndon returned to the area of the violations and spoke with the son of the landowner again. CPO Herndon along with the landowner searched the pond area again and found three freshly killed Canada geese thrown into a brushy area near a creek bed. After getting the names of two of the individuals that were there that day as guest CPO Herndon made contact with them. On April 5th, 2019 CPO Herndon interviewed the suspects, took written confessions and got information off of the firearms that were used. The two suspects will be charged with hunting/killing waterfowl during the closed season and littering.

NWTF JAKES Event at Shenandale Gun Club – On Saturday March 23, Senior CPO Kester assisted with the Augusta County Chapter of the NWTF yearly JAKES event at Shenandale Gun Club. There were nearly 100 children attending the event which included a bow shoot, pellet gun course, shotgun course, skeet shoot and gun safety. Lunch was provided by Peck’s BBQ and Horn’s Dairy provided homemade ice cream. The kids had a wonderful time and a lot of young marksman demonstrated their skills.

1st Annual Robert Zimmerman Memorial Youth Turkey Hunt – On Saturday, April 6, 2019, Senior CPOs McGuire, Kester, Senior K9 Officer Billhimer and Sgt. Ham participated in the Highland NWTF Chapter’s 1st Annual Robert Zimmerman Memorial Youth Turkey Hunt. Senior Officer McGuire coordinated with the Little Switzerland Strutters chapter of the NWTF in Highland County with President Mike Hilbert after only seeing one youth hunting during the youth day in 2018 hunting in Highland County. McGuire proposed the idea of having a Youth Turkey Hunting Event with NWTF sponsorship. Hilbert suggested that the hunt be named in memory of Robert Zimmerman who passed away in October 2018. Zimmerman was a huge asset to their chapter and the kids of Highland County.  McGuire was able to get 10 youth participants hunting in Highland County to span over the Youth and Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunting Weekend with the main event being held on Saturday. All of the youth hunters were guided by NWTF members.  Retired district 42 Sgt. Steve Bullman came out to participate as a guide as well. All of the groups but one heard birds, but none were able to close the deal due to the competition of live hens. After the morning hunt the groups met at the McDowell firehouse where NWTF provided lunch. The youth swapped stories of their hunts and were eager to get back in the woods again this spring. Each participant and guide received a wooden turkey caller donated by NWTF. Each youth also received a hat donated by NWTF and a trophy donated by Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Staunton. Near the end of the event Senior K9 Officer Billhimer and K9 Partner Justice provided a demonstration of Justice’s tracking skills.  Though no birds were taken during the weekend the event served as memorable hunt for all those involved.

District 41 CPOs Get an Early Start to Spring Gobbler Season – District 41 CPO’s Derrick Kekic, Owen Heine, Dan Hyman, Brandon Royals, and Sgt. Carl Martin began Spring Gobbler Season while the turkeys were still on the roost. CPO’s Kekic and Hyman began surveillance of a suspected trespassing hunter well before legal hunting hours. While the trespasser did not show, they were able to increase their knowledge of the area and will continue working the case. With the great weather in the afternoon, they ended a long day after detecting fishing license violations along the Shenandoah River and Lake Frederick.

CPO’s Heine, Royals, and Sgt. Martin checked an area baited with corn in another county. CPO’s Heine and Royals could hear a hunter calling from behind a rock ledge and they heard a gobbler. They also heard a shot from across the road. As Sgt. Martin responded to their location, he observed a hunter standing at the back of a truck; he could also see a turkey on the tailgate. CPO’s Heine and Royals located the three hunters on that side of the property. Following interviews, one hunter was charged with hunting turkeys over bait. The hunter that killed the gobbler possessed an expired hunting license and deer/turkey license.

CPO Royals then participated in the annual Kids Fishing Day on the Hawksbill Creek in Luray. He interacted with the kids and their families as they enjoyed a day of trout fishing on this popular stream. CPO Royals answered questions, spoke to participants, and assisted one lucky angler with the citation form for a nice rainbow trout. A great time was had by all and a huge “Thank You” goes out to the Luray Parks & Recreation Department, Luray Police Department, and all the volunteers that worked hard to provide this opportunity for our youth

Special Ops

Selling Watercraft Leads to Felony Arrest – On April 4, 2019 SA Croft and Senior Officer Bumgarner arrested a subject that SA Croft had been investigating for several years who was selling boats and PWCs without a Watercraft Salesman License.  Sr. Officer Bumgarner was notified in the spring of 2018 that the same subject submitted suspicious paperwork related to obtaining a title to a PWC through a mechanics lien.  Upon further investigation, and execution of a search warrant at the suspect’s storage lot in Chesapeake, nearly 50 open boat titles along with fictitious HIN plates were seized.  The officers continued their investigation and in February 2019, while conducting surveillance of the suspect, the officers observed the suspect sell a vehicle to a husband and wife in a suspicious manner.  Upon further investigation, it was determined the suspect was not the legal holder of the title and forged the legal owners name on the title and bill of sale when the vehicle was sold to the couple.  The suspect was also using an alias and attempted to obscure his real identity during the sale.  The suspect was served two felony warrants for forging and uttering a public document in Henrico County, along with three additional felony warrants for forge and uttering a public document and obtaining money by false pretense in Chesapeake.  Three additional misdemeanor warrants were also served on the subject for operating without a watercraft salesman’s license and failing to title a vessel within twenty days in Chesapeake.  The suspect was lodged in the Chesapeake Jail on a $4,000 secured bond.

$25,000 Boat Sold for $100 Leads to Felony Arrest – On April 5, 2019 SA Croft, Senior Officer Bumgarner along with Officer Chambers arrested a Newport News subject on two felony warrants for forging and uttering a public document along with a misdemeanor warrant for misrepresenting the value of a watercraft.  These charges stemmed from an investigation Senior Officer Bumgarner began in the winter of 2018 while reviewing DGIF watercraft sales data.  Upon further investigation it was determined the subject paid nearly $25,000 for  2017 Carolina Skiff in November 2018 but only reported paying $100 to DGIF on his application for title.  The suspect was given a $2500 unsecured bond and was released from the Newport News Jail.  These type cases are very important to the daily operations of DGIF as these type of frauds cost the agency thousands of dollars each year in lost watercraft sales tax monies.

K9 Bailey Assists Virginia Beach High School Student – In February of 2019 while attending the Virginia Beach boat show, Officer Patrillo and K9 Bailey interacted with a student from a Virginia Beach high school. The student was impressed with Bailey’s capabilities and informed Officer Patrillo that he was writing his senior paper on the importance of K9’s in law enforcement.  As part of his project, the student organized a fundraising event on March 31st, and planned to donate the proceeds from the event to the Virginia Beach Police Department. Officer Patrillo offered to assist the student by speaking at his event and performing a K9 demonstration with Bailey.  Officer Patrillo spoke to the high school students about Bailey’s abilities, training, and accomplishments.  He also spoke about case law pertaining to K9s in the workplace and his daily activities with his K9 partner. K9 Bailey then gave an impressive demonstration by detecting evidence and wildlife that were hidden throughout the event.  Bailey’s skills were not only admired by the students, but she also caught the attention of multiple people passing by, which added to the overall success of the event. The student wrote an impressive paper and was able to provide the Virginia Beach Police Department with a sizable donation.

K9 Bailey Attends Career Day at George Mason Elementary – On April 11, CPO Patrillo and K9 Bailey attended the annual career day at George Mason Elementary in Richmond. Officer Patrillo explained the responsibilities and day-to-day activities of a Conservation Police Officer, but Bailey stole the show with her detection demonstrations.  Many of the children were not familiar with Conservation Police and had never spent much time in the outdoors.  The children learned of new opportunities in the outdoors and many expressed interest in fishing and boating.


In early March, Sgt. Mike Hill was contacted by a northern Virginia parent in reference to her young son’s interest in becoming a CPO.  During this encounter Sgt. Hill developed a relationship with the young man and eventually sent him a CPO care package.  On Friday, April 5, at the invitation of the student’s teacher, Sgt. Hill attended a career day at Harmony Middle School in Loudon County.  Sgt. Hill made quite an impression on the young man, his fellow students, and the teachers in the school.  Sgt. Hill’s visit was the highlight of the student’s day.  Sgt. Hill has definitely made a contact and friend for life!

  • April 25, 2019