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Maryland Natural Resources Police Posthumously Commemorate First Search And Rescue K-9
HILLSBORO — Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) today commemorated the life and death of Jesse, the first Search and Rescue and Cadaver Detection K-9 officer for the department, with a memorial tree planting in her memory. The dog died Feb. 14.
A young dogwood tree was planted today at the NRP eastern region office in Hillsboro, Queen Anne’s County.
“We will all miss Jesse, but we will remember her as a dedicated and valuable part of the Maryland Natural Resources Police team and a faithful friend,” said NRP Col. Mark S. Chaney. “As the trees we plant here today grow and blossom in the coming years, we will remember her contributions to the development of the NRP K-9 unit and the beauty of her spirit.”
Jesse, a female yellow lab, joined NRP in 1994 when she was adopted by then-Cpl. Lisa Nyland from the Caroline County Animal Control Shelter. Jesse was trained in Quantico, Va., where she earned a Certificate of Proficiency in Cadaver Detection. In 1995, Jesse received her Wilderness Certification through the East Coast K-9 Search and Rescue organization.
During her 10 years of service, Jesse’s many calls included not only assisting NRP but also the FBI, Delaware State Police, and various other local fire and police agencies throughout the mid-Atlantic region, including a six-day recovery operation call for victims at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Locally, now-Sgt. Nyland and Jesse have searched for drowning victims, suicides, missing children, missing patients from nursing homes, Alzheimer patients, lost hunters, murder victims and at the request of his distraught owner, a Jack Russell terrier that fell from a boat in the Delaware Bay. Unfortunately, that dog was never found, but the gesture was greatly appreciated.
"Jesse was a truly incredible partner that taught me more about patience, persistence and canine behavior than anyone else ever could,” Sgt. Nyland said. “She was a perfect example of what can be achieved with hard work, perseverance and the support of people around you. Her endearing personality and strong work ethic will be greatly missed."
Jesse was diagnosed in February this year with a partially ruptured cruciate ligament in her back left leg, a failing left hip and a large abdominal mass, which doctors believed was lymphoma. The cancer was too advanced for surgery and chemotherapy; she was made as comfortable as possible for the time she had left. Jesse was humanely euthanized on Feb. 14, just 1 1/2 months shy of her 11th birthday. Her remains were cremated.
NRP’s K-9 detection program began as a way for NRP to expand their search and rescue capabilities. To date, three dogs have been trained for distinct purposes (human v. animal detection) and placed with handlers. All three K-9 teams have proven to be extremely valuable assets not only to NRP but to allied agencies within and outside of the state. Numerous conservation cases and the recovery of various articles and persons have been made with their assistance. The remaining two teams will continue to serve as an innovative and successful approach to conservation law enforcement and missing persons search and recovery.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police is an enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources. With an authorized strength of 285 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.
April 29, 2005
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov