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Maryland Natural Resource Police Present Annual Awards to Outstanding Officers

Photo of two people saluting four officers bearing flags

Lt. Col. Kelley Johnson and Secretary Josh Kurtz observe the Maryland Natural Resources Color Guard as they open ceremonies for the annual award ceremony March 27. Photo by Lauren Moses, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police held its annual award ceremony to recognize the achievements made by conservation law enforcement officers and civilians in 2022. The officers were presented honors by Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz and Natural Resources Police Acting Lt. Col. Kelley Johnson. The annual event was held March 27 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

“Our department is proud of these officers for their exemplary work on behalf of our citizens and our natural resources,” said Secretary Kurtz. “They are true examples of the courtesy, integrity, dedication, and professionalism of the nation’s oldest conservation law enforcement agency.”

“We are grateful to have very dedicated and committed officers and civilians at the Maryland Natural Resources Police who go above and beyond,” said Lt. Col. Johnson. “It’s important to document and recognize their contributions to protecting Maryland’s natural resources and citizens.”

Sergeant Devin Corcoran, Corporal Andrew Brayman, Officer First Class Nathan Bradley, and Officer First Class David Helterbran were each awarded the Medal of Valor, the agency’s highest award.

Corcoran responded to the Chester River in Queen Anne’s County after receiving a call regarding a boating emergency. When Corcoran arrived, he observed several people attempting to rescue a woman who had become tangled in a boat propeller. Without concern for his personal safety, Corcoran removed his gun belt and body armor and jumped into more than 10 feet of water to free the woman from the propeller. 

Helterbran and Brayman, both members of the Natural Resource Police’s Tactical Response Team, assisted Maryland State Police with a call in Carroll County when a man barricaded himself with his child, whom officers say the man had abducted. Both officers established a line of communication and rapport with the suspect, which allowed the remaining team members to subdue him and rescue the child. 

Bradley responded to a call regarding a stabbing in Caroline County. When he arrived, he placed himself in close quarters between a man who was still wielding a knife to protect the victim from further harm.

Thirteen officers received the Award of Merit, the second highest honor, for actions that saved lives on the water and land: Sergeant Maureen Ferguson, Sergeant Brad Bunting, Corporal Vincent Artrip, Corporal Robert Duvall, Corporal Andrew Shaw, Officer First Class Gannon Lyons, Officer First Class Mitchell Muise, Officer First Class William Ruffner, Officer First Class Jeremy Elmore, Officer First Class Vincent Arillo, Officer First Class Timothy Ward, Officer First Class Charles McCauley, and Officer First Class Bradley, who also received the Medal of Valor.

Officer First Class Travis Moats, assigned to the western region, was named the 2022 Officer of the Year for his rigorous pursuit of violators of Maryland’s wildlife laws.

Officer First Class Andrew Shifflett, who patrols the central region, was selected as Conservation Officer of the Year for his proactive enforcement efforts. 

Officer First Class Brendan Ryan of the Eastern Region was honored as Boating Safety Officer of the Year. 

Sergeant Murray Hunt received the Support Services/Special Services Officer of the Year Award for his commitment and dedication in coordinating an upgrade of the Natural Resource Police’s communication center. 

Corporal Erica Garver, assigned to the western region, was awarded Maryland Park Service Officer of the Year. 

The Natural Resource Police’s eastern region received the Toys for Tots Toy Collection Award for gathering the most toys to donate to families in need during this past holiday season.

Tina Hurley, a civilian stationed in the eastern region, was awarded the Civilian Employee Award. 

Additional photos of the event are available online.