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NRP Graduates Class of 19

Retired NRP Cpl. Joanne Dickey pins a badge on the uniform of her son-in-law and new NRP Officer Morgan Phelps as Col. George F. Johnson IV looks on.

Retired NRP Cpl. Joanne Dickey pins a badge on the uniform of her son-in-law and new NRP Officer Morgan Phelps as Col. George F. Johnson IV looks on.

The ranks of the Maryland Natural Resources Police grew by 19 with the graduation Friday of its latest class of recruits.

The new officers took their oath, administered by Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent, at AnneArundelCommunity   College before a large audience of family and friends.

“Protecting Maryland’s bounty for our children and their children is the responsibility of every citizen. But I want to thank you for stepping up in a very personal way to carry that responsibility for all Marylanders,” said Governor Martin O’Malley in a prerecorded address.

The new officers received 30 weeks of classroom and field training at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Center in Sykesville, and on waterways and public lands throughout the State. Their studies included not only general law enforcement functions but also the special skills needed for conservation law enforcement.

In his remarks, Johnson reminded NRP’s 55th Basic Recruit Class to adhere to the four core principles of the agency: Integrity, Dedication, Courtesy and Professionalism.

“Always remember your oath and hold tightly to your ethical compass,” said Johnson.  “Never forget that right is right, even if no one else is doing it. Wrong is wrong, even if everyone else is doing it.”

Chief David B. Mitchell, Director of Public Safety at the University of Maryland and retired Maryland State Police superintendent, gave the keynote address.

The 19 new officers are:

Laura M. Albrecht, Belvidere, N.J.; Cory G. Armes, Phoenix; Vincent J. Artrip, Ocean City; Kimberly A. Austin, Bowie; Andrew S. Blickenstaff, Clear Spring; Brandon W. Davis, Galena; Maureen C. Ferguson, Berlin; Michael Godack, Annapolis;
Robert F. Karge Jr., Preston; Jason S. Kreider, Newville, Pa.; Ethan T. Leonard, Port Republic; Cody L. Linton, Boonsboro; Heshimu McCray, Ownings Mills; Erica J. Minnick, Smithsburg; Matthew J. Moffitt, Street; Amelia K. Nelson, Centreville; Morgan R. Phelps, Kent Island; Sean A Wiles, Knoxville; and Franklin L. Wright, Princess Anne.

Officers Minnick and Ferguson delivered the class address.

Seven class members were recognized for outstanding achievement during the academy, which began last June:

Brandon Davis, Excellence in Leadership; Sean Wiles, Excellence in Academic Achievement; Robert Karge Jr., Excellence in Firearms (Top Gun); Matthew Moffitt, Excellence in Navigation and Seamanship; Andrew Blickenstaff, Excellence in Woodland Operations; Maureen Ferguson and Vincent Artrip, Excellence in Physical Training.

Photos from the event here.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police has an authorized strength of 239 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel. In addition to enforcing state maritime and conservation laws, NRP conducts search and rescue operations and is charged with being the lead agency for maritime homeland security efforts. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.