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Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

September 29 – October 5, 2021

To increase awareness of Conservation Police Officers’ (CPOs, or 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 of the Law Enforcement Division of DWR. 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 III – Southwest

Search for Missing Fisherman on Crooked Creek WMA – On September 11, 2021 at approximately 2130 hours, Virginia Conservation Police Officers were notified of a missing fisherman on the Crooked Creek WMA in Carroll County.  Officer Boyette, Officer Harris and K9 Officer Billings responded to assist in the search with the Virginia State Police, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Pipers Gap Rescue Squad, Galax Volunteer Fire Department, Twin County E911, Department of Wildlife Resources Dispatch Center, and the Carroll County Emergency Services Coordinator as partner agencies.  As soon as the call was received, Department of Wildlife Resources was able to obtain a phone number for the missing subject’s phone and attempted to make contact through calls and text message.  While a search plan was being coordinated, the missing subject was able to contact his wife. He told her that he was okay but a little turned around and could only communicate via text due to poor cell phone reception where he was at.  He advised that he had heard a loud truck earlier.  This truck had been observed crossing Harrison Ridge Road.  A plan was devised to travel back out Harrison Ridge and activate the siren to see if he could hear it.  About halfway thru Harrison Ridge Road he was able to hear the siren and the search area was narrowed down to within approximately a thousand yards.  The search party and officers then moved on foot towards his location and narrowed the area down to about two hundred yards and directed search crews in from the lower side of the area.  The subject was located in good condition and was assisted out to EMS for evaluation.

Career Day Fair – On September 23, 2021 Conservation Officers Wes Billings, George Shupe, Tyler Sheets and Corey Gardner participated in the Tazewell County Career Day Fair at the Tazewell County Vocational Center. Approximately 25 employers were at the event with approximately 150 students participating.

Region IV – Mountains & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont

Missing Boater Found – On 09/23/2021, CPO Heberling received a report of a missing boater that was possibly in distress on the James River near the Town of Scottsville in Albemarle Co. The river had risen approx. 8 feet in 9 hours and had flooded the parking area at the Scottsville DWR boat ramp. A town employee had witnessed a subject launching his boat early that morning and noticed the same vehicle still in the parking area, partially submerged, that afternoon. CPO Heberling, assisted by CPO Sumner and CPO Cavazos, responded to the scene and coordinated with Albemarle PD, Scottsville PD, and Albemarle Co. Fire/Rescue staff to try and locate the subject. A VSP helicopter was requested to fly the river as conditions made it dangerous for rescuers to launch without knowing if the subject was in distress. After several attempts to contact the subject by phone had failed, a neighboring dispatch center received a 911 call from the subject stating he was indeed in need of rescue. The subject stated that his vessel was not capable of traveling back upriver because of the water conditions. Scottsville Fire Department water rescue personnel and CPO Heberling launched a vessel and rescued the subject and made sure his vessel was secured to an accessible shoreline for later retrieval. The subject suffered no injuries and was transported back to the Scottsville boat ramp. DWR stresses all individuals be aware of rapidly changing water conditions and plan accordingly.

Special Operations

K9 Bailey Assists with 2nd Death Investigation – On September 3, 2021, the Amelia County Sheriff’s department contacted Officer Jim Patrillo and requested K9 Bailey’s assistance with a death investigation.  The Amelia County Investigator informed Officer Patrillo that the Sheriff’s office had located remains of a missing person but wanted K9 Bailey to ensure that all the remains were recovered. K9 Bailey was deployed in a wooded area and quickly located a long bone and a vertebra. K9 Bailey continued her search of the potential crime scene and was also able to locate a knife, money, clothing items, and drug paraphernalia. These efforts will hopefully ensure that the investigation is brought to closure.

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  • October 28, 2021