For Immediate Release
Captain Bobby Mawyer, 804-367-9274
NOTE: This news release was distributed on 10/11/2011. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.
VDGIF Basic Law Enforcement Academy Graduates Class
Richmond, VA — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Basic Law Enforcement Academy has graduated a new class of officers. Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court for Chesterfield County Leslie Morris officially swore-in the new officers.
In all, 15 new conservation police officers were sworn-in at the ceremony. These officers completed an intensive training program that included more than 200 courses and ran for nearly 29 weeks. They will take up their assignments across the Commonwealth and proceed with field training under the direct supervision of field training officers.
This is the sixth class to graduate from the Department's Training Academy. VDGIF undertook establishing its own academy in order to tailor the program to the specific needs of conservation police officers.
VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan also spoke at the graduation ceremony noting, "This is a very impressive group of individuals. Their training has been rigorous both physically and mentally. We are so fortunate to have this caliber of people joining us at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries."
The following is a list of the newest conservation police officers and the areas where they will be assigned:
Ryan H. Gibson - Buckingham County
Paul C. Inge - Albemarle County
Kevin M. Joyner - Louisa County
Denis J. Kiely, III - Bedford County
Amy E. Mills - Madison County
Ian S. Ostlund - Shenandoah County
James M. Patrillo - City of Richmond
Joseph B. Rollings - Gloucester County
Eric L. Rorabaugh - Appomattox County
Robert W. Shafer - Nelson County
Mark G. Shaw - Dinwiddie County
Jesse D. Suders - Orange County
Scott E. Terry - Henry County
Joshua R. Thomas - Lancaster County
Kyle W. Wooldridge - Brunswick County
Conservation police officers must be proficient in a wide array of skills including handling of firearms; crime scene investigations; drug and operating-under-the-influence enforcement; search and rescue; boat operation and boat trailering; etc. Awards were presented at the ceremony to recognize the hard work and proficiency of the recruits and the dedication of instructors and academy staff. They are as follows:
TOP SHOT AWARD (Firearms - Presented by Officer Shannon Smith)
The Top Shot Award is given to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest overall qualification scores on all firearms courses. The selection is based solely on qualification scores earned at the conclusion of the 80-hour block of firearms training held during the Academy. Recruits were required to demonstrate proficiency with their issued pistol and rifle during day and night courses in a variety of demanding situations. The recipient of the Top Shot Award is Officer Robert W. Shafer who is assigned to Nelson County. Officer Shafer was born in Lynchburg, VA. He is a graduate of the Tidewater Community College with a degree in the Administration of Justice and has proudly served our country in the United States Marine Corps.
OUTSTANDING DRIVER AWARD (Driving - Presented by Officer Beth Garrett)
The Outstanding Driver Award is given to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest overall qualification scores on all driving courses. The selection is based solely on scores earned during the 80-hour block of driver training during the Academy. Due to the nature of the locations our officers are required to access and patrol, four-wheel drive vehicles are among the primary focus during this training. Training for this type of vehicle goes beyond the traditional training for sedan patrol vehicles utilized by traditional law enforcement agencies. Driving courses include Asphalt Precision courses, High-Speed Reaction courses, Emergency Vehicle Operations course, Off-Road Obstacle Negotiation, All Terrain Vehicle Operation, Gravel Surface Braking Course, and three different Trailer Backing Courses. The recipient of the Outstanding Driver Award is Officer Kevin M. Joyner who is assigned to Louisa County. Officer Joyner was born in Baltimore, Maryland but soon returned to the Richmond area. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Building Construction.
MOST PHYSICALLY FIT AWARD (Physical Fitness - Presented by Officer Isaac Boulanger)
The Most Physically Fit Award is given to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the best overall performance in the three areas tested by the VDGIF Basic Training Academy. The recruits were given a pre-test when they began the Academy in March, a mid-term test and a final test. The recruits were required to participate in a physical training program each day for one hour for the entire 28-week period of the Basic Academy. The four performance areas were push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a mile-and-a-half run. The scores were compiled and reviewed by the instructors that assisted with physical training and then confirmed by Academy staff. The recipient of the Most Physically Fit Award is Officer Jesse D. Suders who is assigned to Orange County. Officer Suders holds a Bachelor's degree from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania where he studied geography, urban planning, cartography and environmental science.
BOATING AWARD (Boating & Marine Operations - Presented by Sgt. Greg Funkhouser)
The Outstanding Boating Award is presented to the recruit that demonstrated the best overall ability to operate large patrol boats, jon boats, and personal watercraft. One of the primary duties of a Virginia Conservation Police Officer is to patrol the vast waterways of the Commonwealth. The recruits took part in a rigorous three week course during which instructors evaluated their performance in high speed boat operation, precision docking drills, and a timed personal watercraft course. The recipient of the Outstanding Boating Award is Officer Kyle Wooldridge who is assigned to Brunswick County. Officer Wooldridge is a native of Campbell County and a graduate of Longwood University with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology.
COLONEL'S AWARD (Academic Achievement - Presented by Colonel Dabney Watts)
The Colonel's Award is presented to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest grade point average in the recruit class. This is the average of all 25exams administered in the Academy. Exams covered 1771 questions, of which, this officer answered 1763 correctly. These questions addressed training objectives set by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, in the areas of Professionalism, Legal Issues, Communications, Patrol, and Investigations. Other exams taken during the course of the Basic Academy were as a result of training that addressed the non-traditional law enforcement functions that pertain specifically to the unique law enforcement duties of the Virginia Conservation Police Officer. Some of these topics were Marine Theft Investigation; Hunting Incident Investigation; laws and regulations specifically pertaining to hunting, fishing, trapping, and boating; camouflage and concealment; and permits. In a very competitive field, this year's recipient edged out classmates by obtaining a 99.5483 % average. And for her efforts, I'm honored to present the Colonel's Award to Officer Amy E. Mills. Officer Mills grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science from Waynesburg University. She went on to receive her Master's degree in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven in May of 2010. Officer Mills is assigned to Madison County.
DIRECTOR'S AWARD (Best Instructor - Presented by Director Bob Duncan)
The Director's Award is presented to the person voted best instructor by the recruit class. To be eligible for the award the instructor must have taught at the Basic Academy and could have been from any VDGIF division (not just Law Enforcement) or any outside agency. The recipient of the Director's Award is Officer Shannon Smith. Officer Smith has been a law enforcement officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for seventeen years, serving most of his time in Botetourt County. He provides invaluable instruction to all of our officers in area of firearms and serves our agency as the Chief Firearms Instructor for the Law Enforcement Division. Officer Smith is recognized by the class for his knowledge of subject matter, ability to effectively convey the information, and for his rapport with the students.
BOARD AWARD (Exceptional Overall Performance - Presented by J. Brent Clarke, III, Chairman)
The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Award is given to the recruit who displays exceptional overall performance during the entire course of training. The recipient was selected for his motivation, professionalism, peer leadership, and for being an inspiration to others. He is also recognized for his support of the Academy and staff by providing outstanding logistical and administrative support. The recipient of the Board Award is Officer Scott E. Terry who is assigned to Henry County. Officer Terry was born and raised in Henry County.
It is the mission of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing ; to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing and boating opportunities.
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Photograph available by request. Contact Lee.Walker@dgif.virginia.gov.