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Oldest State Police Department Welcomes Newest Recruits

Largest Academy Class in Maryland Natural Resources Police History

Photo of recruit classThirty-four men and women yesterday took the first step to becoming Maryland Natural Resources Police officers when they were sworn in as the agency’s 59th basic recruit class.

The class is the largest in the department’s history and is beginning its training as the agency celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1868 as the State Oyster Police Force, the Natural Resources Police is Maryland’s oldest state police department and one of the oldest state conservation law enforcement agencies in the nation.

“Today marks a milestone for us,” Natural Resources Police Superintendent Col. Robert “Ken” Ziegler Jr. said. “Basic Recruit Class 59 is a clear sign that our future is secure and that we will continue to build on our proud 150-year history.”

The diverse set of officer-candidates come from 16 Maryland counties and Baltimore City as well and Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Six graduated from the Natural Resources Police cadet program.

Photo of recruits saluting

The more than seven-month curriculum covers basic police policies and procedures, with additional emphasis on conservation law enforcement. Classroom instruction is held at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Center in Sykesville. Recruits receive additional training in the field, on water, in courtrooms and specialized settings.

Officers have the same authority as Maryland State Police troopers. In addition to enforcing state conservation and maritime laws, the agency conducts search-and-rescue operations and is charged with being the lead agency for maritime homeland security efforts. It also provides safety courses each year for thousands of boaters and hunters.

The 34 recruits are:

David Breakall of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania,
John Bucher of Bel Air,
Todd Cardarelli of Middle River,
Cody Chaney of Williamsport,
Jeremie Craig of Newton, Massachusetts,
Jamill Elliott of Upper Marlboro,
John Gordy of Newark,
Joseph Gukanovich of Arnold,
Jared Haines of Hagerstown,
Christian Helwig of Preston,
Melissa Henderson of Cape Charles, Virginia,
Racquel Kavanaugh of Baltimore,
Theodore King of LaVale,
Amanda Kloetzli of Worton,
Christina Lees of Stratford, New Jersey,
Janice Lopez of Lusby,
Joseph Markiewicz Jr., of Parkville,
Jeremy Miller of Clear Spring,
Bradley Mills of Clear Spring,
Mitchell Muise of Jefferson,
Christopher Parker of Upper Marlboro,
Andrew Phemister of Lynchburg, Virginia,
Lucas Pratt of Frostburg,
Daniel Robinson of Annapolis,
Jeremy Ryan of Salisbury,
Luke Santerre of Port Republic,
Christopher Stancliff of Baltimore,
Cody Thorne of Charlotte Hall,
David Tosches of Nottingham,
Charles Tyler of Crisfield,
Gloria Washington of Annapolis,
Kerri Weale of Barclay,
Adam Willey of Parsonsburg, and
Leslie Wright of Delmar.

The recruits will graduate Nov. 3 and join a force that has an authorized strength of 278 sworn officers. The probationary officers will be paired with department veteran for additional field training in the agency’s eight patrol areas.