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From the Field: Shakira Johnson, Administrative Officer, Maryland NRP

Photo of Shakira Johnson in her officeMaryland Department of Natural Resources employees take pride in the work they do—and they are noted for choosing their profession out of a love for protecting, conserving, and restoring our state’s natural treasures for the benefit of fellow Marylanders.

Many DNR staff members go that extra mile to serve the people of Maryland who enjoy the rewards of our work. DNR senior leadership is highlighting staff members who have been recognized by constituents and their coworkers for going “Beyond the Call.”

Committed, reliable, and resolute are standard terms used by peers to describe Shakira Johnson. The Queenstown native always had dreams of working in public service and helping her community and peers in any way possible. Although her official title is Administrative Officer, she wears many hats. Commonly referred to as the glue that keeps the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) Supply Services Unit together, Shakira’s primary function is procurement, regularly communicating with vendors for everything from uniforms to vessel outboard motors. She is constantly flooded with purchase requests from numerous units within NRP, often with a short turnaround time. She single-handedly prepares the procurement documents and makes revisions when necessary.

Shakira is also responsible for tracking, fitting, and purchasing body armor, critical for the personal protection of every officer in the field. With that responsibility, Shakira leaves no room for error. Additionally, she meticulously works behind the scenes dealing with vendors—getting it all done with a welcoming smile. She approaches each vendor, officer, and civilian with the same warm greeting, whether it’s the beginning of her shift or 15 minutes past the end of it.

Shakira’s other tasks include tracking and paying the bills within the Supply Services Unit and handling phone calls funneled to her. She eagerly assists callers and won’t end the call until their problem is solved. While juggling her multiple duties, she also makes time to volunteer at the NRP dispatch center.

Shakira began her career in emergency services as a dispatcher at the Easton Police Department. She joined DNR in 2008 as a Police Communications Operator, then in 2015 she was hired as the NRP fleet coordinator and inventory officer. After the sudden passing of the administrative officer, Shakira stepped into the role without hesitation. Never complaining and always gracious, she covered both positions until a replacement was hired in 2019.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dispatch center was severely understaffed and overwhelmed. After quickly consulting with the other operators, Shakira placed her headset on and immediately got to work by answering frantic calls, assisting her peers by calming concerned callers and filling in wherever necessary.

Shakira’s dedication and enthusiasm have never gone unnoticed. She has been awarded the Support Services employee of the year award and has received several superintendent commendations. Shakira puts in the time and effort to ensure that staff has the tools they need to implement the Maryland Natural Resources Police’s mission. Her positive attitude and genuine care for NRP staff makes Shakira an example of the ideal representative of NRP. She has shown time and time again that she can lead when needed, multitask on the fly, and handle any responsibility given to her. She is a genuine asset to the agency.

Lauren Moses is the Public Affairs Officer for the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Article appears in Vol. 24, No. 3 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, summer 2021.