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Maryland Natural Resources Police Celebrates 140 Years Of Success
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP), the oldest law enforcement agency in the state and one of the oldest conservation law enforcement organizations in the United States recently celebrated its 140th anniversary.
“Through 140 years of rich tradition and dedicated service to our citizens, Maryland’s Natural Resources Police force has undergone a dramatic transformation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “NRP officers are stewards and defenders of our natural and living resources, as well as front line protectors of public safety on our waterways. I congratulate Secretary Griffin, Colonel Johnson and the agency’s officers and staff on this milestone.”
Right after the Civil War, the Bay’s rich oyster harvests sparked open warfare, where harvesters protected their turf at gunpoint and plundered oyster beds in defiance of state regulations. In 1868 the General Assembly established the State Oyster Police, the first incarnation of NRP, to regulate the oyster industry and bring order to the turbulent Chesapeake Bay. Hunter Davidson, the first Commander of the State Oyster Police with only a side-wheel steamer and two sloops at his disposal, was responsible for patrolling 356,000 acres of natural oyster bars on the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River.
Often outgunned and outmanned, the force was successful enough that state officials kept adding to its portfolio. Throughout the twentieth century, various manifestations of Maryland’s fish and game law enforcement agencies were created and modified until in 1972 the Maryland Natural Resources Police was formed and given enforcement responsibility for all of the Department of Natural Resources’ public lands.
“Our predecessors pledged to protect and preserve, and that commitment remains in each and every officer today,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, Superintendent of the Natural Resources Police. “In many ways our professional responsibilities and the expectations of today’s global society have been altered, but our mission and dedication to protecting the state’s natural resources remains strong.”
For more information, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/.
April 8, 2008
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 280 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.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 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 12 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