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NRP Academy Class Graduates, Agency Gains 21 New Officers

Graduating Officers Dressed in uniform

Graduating Officers

The ranks of the Maryland Natural Resources Police grew by 21 with the graduation Saturday of the latest class of recruits.

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

Governor Martin O’Malley congratulated the newest members of NRP in a prerecorded address.

“Your training ensures that as long as you are on the front lines, Maryland’s people, Maryland’s public lands and wildlife will be safer and healthier,” said Governor O’Malley. “Through 146 years this agency’s name has changed and its mission has expanded. But its roots remain deeply embedded in our shared belief that environmental stewardship is a sacred duty.”

The new officers received 28 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. 

DNR Secretary Joe Gill noted that the new officers will bolster the ranks in all eight NRP patrol areas to protect land and waterways owned by the citizens of Maryland, uphold laws that guard wildlife and fish, aid boaters in distress and hikers lost in the woods, and patrol 66 state parks to help keep more than 11 million visitors safe.

Gill said advances in high-technology tools, such as the radar-and-camera system called the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network, “will help shrink the vast size of the neighborhood NRP officers are sworn to protect. But make no mistake: nothing in that high-tech bag of tricks will ever replace the cop on the beat who helps citizens and brings lawbreakers to justice.”

In his remarks, Johnson asked veteran officers to embrace their role as mentors and urged the 56th Basic Recruit Class to spend the next year learning all they could from their field training officers.

Calvert Circuit Court Judge E. Gregory Wells delivering the commencement address.

Calvert Circuit Court Judge E. Gregory Wells delivering the commencement address.

“Your enthusiasm and passion, openness to challenges and ability to adapt to change will make NRP stronger and help keep this 146-year-old agency on the cutting edge of conservation law enforcement,” said Johnson.  

Calvert County Circuit Court Associate Judge E. Gregory Wells used his keynote address to praise NRP officers for their efforts, and encouraged the new officers to adhere to the agency’s core values of integrity, dedication, professionalism and courtesy.

The 21 new officers:

Jacob Bucher of Joppa; Ryan Colon of Hebron; Dominic D’Angona III of Damascus; Scott Davis of Annapolis; Thompson DeFriez of Glen Burnie; Robert Duvall Jr. of Berlin; Daniel Geiman of Baltimore; Khari Grooms of Clinton; Bernard Haberkam Jr. of Richlands, N.C.; Brian Hunt of Stevensville; Robert Kapp of Westminster; Justin King of Cumberland; Raymond Maurer of Bel Air; Charles McCauley Jr. of Pittsville; Kristen McFarland of Church Hill; Michael Sullivan of Mount Airy; Daniel Thomas of Bowie; Gina Tyler of Marion; Stephen Ward of Abingdon; David Wilkinson of Mardela Springs; and Robert Wood of Berlin.

Officer Ryan Colon delivered the class address.

Four class members were recognized for outstanding achievement during the academy, which began on April 7:

Officer Brian Hunt, Excellence in Leadership; Officer Ryan Colon, Excellence in Academic Achievement; Officer Michael Sullivan, Excellence in Firearms (Top Gun); and Officer Robert Duvall Jr., Excellence in Navigation and Seamanship.