Lieutenant Fletcher and CO Hutchinson apprehended a Black Bear
activist tampering with a culvert trap in Vernon Township in Sussex
County. The local resident had been seen by a homeowner climbing
into the trap holding a spray bottle. A positive identification
of the individual was made at that time. An investigation was
initiated and the trap was placed under night-time surveillance
by the Bureau of Law Enforcement. On the fifth night, the fifty
year-old male suspect was observed by the officers spreading a
liquid believed to be human urine from a gallon jug on the bait
trail leading to the trap. The officers illuminated the man with
their flashlights, identified themselves and told him not to move.
The subject chose not to follow the instructions and ran, throwing
the jug in the process. He was apprehended after a brief foot
pursuit and placed under arrest. The jug was recovered still containing
approximately one pint of liquid. Vernon Township Police assisted
with transport and processing of the subject. Complaints were
filed for obstruction of government function, obstruction of administration
of law, resisting arrest, interference with a conservation officer
and hindering the lawful taking of wildlife. He was additionally
charged with obstruction of government function, hindering the
lawful taking of wildlife and criminal trespass for the earlier
incident. The subject had been previously convicted of hindering
the lawful taking of wildlife and resisting arrest from a December
2005 incident. Northern Region Conservation Officers devoted 250
man hours to security of Division operated black bear traps during
the report period. Also assisting were Conservation Officers Nestel
and Paul and Captain Cussen.
CO Panico responded to a ‘shots fired’ call in Washington
Township in Warren County. The officer apprehended a local resident
in possession of an untagged deer that he had just killed with
a shotgun. Complaints were signed for ‘hunt deer at a time
not prescribed’ and ‘untagged deer’.
Northern Region Conservation Officers are in the process of contacting
businesses in their administrative areas to check for compliance
with NJSA 23:2A-14 ‘unlawful feeding of black bear’
with respect to storage of trash. The purpose of the inspections
is to prevent future black bear problems.
Lieutenant Fletcher conducted a Black Bear Feeding Enforcement
Sweep in Ogdensburg Boro in Sussex County. Agents from DEP Enforcement
& Compliance assisted along with COs Sutton and Toppin. A
total of 497 households were contacted with 5 verbal warnings
and 1 written warning for a home where black bears were actually
observed feeding on trash.
Northern Region Conservation Officers investigated six citizen
complaints of black bear feeding during the report period. Three
required verbal warnings.
CO Kuechler is working with the Denville Police Department on
the investigation of a young black bear killed in this Morris
County town. A reward has been offered by the Humane Society for
information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible
Conservation Officers from the Northern, Central and Southern
Regions assisted Parks with security and enforcement at the annual
Fourth of July Celebration at Liberty State Park.
CO Williamson made a presentation at the Lebanon Township Junior
Police Academy in Hunterdon County. The focus of his program was
the roll of the Conservation Officer in the law enforcement community.
CO Applegate assisted Delaware Township Police, NJ State Police
and the FBI with the hunt for a bank robbery suspect in the Hunterdon
CO Panico assisted with firearms training for the new recruits
and Northern Region Deputies at the Colliers Mills Range.
Central Region Highlights
On June 23, 2007, Officer O’Rourke responded to the scene
of a suicide that had occurred on the Colliers Mills WMA. Officer
O’Rourke assisted the Ocean County Coroner, NJ State Police
and Jackson Twp Police with securing the scene and gathering information.
A sportsman who was fishing from a boat on Turn Mill Pond noticed
a male subject pacing back and forth along the shoreline. Because
of the subjects erratic behavior, he became concerned and called
the authorities. While on the phone with the police he heard the
sound of a single gun shot. By the time law enforcement officers
arrived the subject had expired from his self inflicted wounds.
Officer Sean McManus and Deputy Wayne Tindall patrolled a section
of the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area located in Washington
Twp and encountered three individuals fishing along the waters
of Dam Site #5. When Officer McManus approached the first subject,
he noticed that there was a cooler full of beer and an open container
of beer on the ground next to the subject. When Officer McManus
requested to see the subjects fishing license, the subject stated
that he didn’t have one. When the officer asked for some
identification, the subject became verbally abusive and refused
to give the officer his true name. When the officer advised the
subject that he was going to pat him down for safety reasons,
the subject pulled away from the officer and attempted to strike
the officer with his fists. Officer McManus immediately brought
the subject to the ground and hand cuffed him. Washington Twp.
Police arrived and transported the subject to their head quarters
for processing. The following charges were issued: resisting arrest;
hindering apprehension; under age possession of alcohol; fish
no license; interference and the illegal possession of alcohol
on a WMA. Once released from custody and while still outside the
police station, the subject began to argue with friends and family
members who were there to pick him up. Washington Twp Police had
to intervene and escort them from the property. In addition to
the aforementioned charges, the subjects two friends were also
charged with fishing without valid licenses and the illegal possession
of alcohol on a WMA.CO McManus assisted the Plainsboro Police
Department in a search for a 13-year old male in the area around
the Millstone Aqueduct. The youth had run away from home after
having an argument with his father. He was found unharmed the
CO Martiak encountered two people fishing on the Assunpink Lake.
Upon inspection, he found that both individuals were fishing without
licenses, had over the limit sunfish and had short largemouth
bass in possession. It was also determined that neither individual
had a driver's license as well. The appropriate Title 23 summonses
were issued as well as one of the individuals was charged with
operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license.
CO's Szalaj, McManus, Martiak and O'Rourke assisted the I&E
staff with the NJ Fish and Wildlife booth at the Freedom Fest
Fair held at the Horse Park of NJ in Upper Freehold Township from
CO O'Rourke was patrolling the Stone Tavern Lake area on the Assunpink
WMA when he noticed a pickup truck parked in one of the farm fields
near the area of an illegal rope swing. Thinking he had some swimmers,
he went into the woods where he found two fishermen. He inspected
both fishermen and asked them if the pickup truck was theirs.
Both fishermen stated that their vehicles were parked in the parking
lot. CO O'Rourke decided there must be someone in the water and
began looking for a swimmer. He looked back at the fishermen and
realized that one was gone. He ran out to the field and saw the
truck driving through the field. He then raced back to his vehicle.
As he was pulling out of the parking lot, he observed the truck
pull out onto the pavement without stopping and accelerate down
the road. CO O'Rourke was able to finally stop the vehicle. The
fisherman driving the vehicle stated that he didn't know why he
took off. He was issued 4 summonses for operating off the established
road, interference, careless driving and failure to wear a seatbelt.
Southern Region Highlights
Conservation Officer Scott Risher responded to Pitman Borough
Gloucester County Police Department. They had apprehended an individual
who killed a mockingbird with a pellet gun. The appropriate charges
Conservation Officer Stites received a complaint of a farmer in
Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County who had a depredation permit
to kill deer however he wasn’t following the rules of his
permit. Officer Stites along with a member of the local police
department patrolled the area and apprehended one man shooting
deer from an all terrain vehicle with a shotgun and another man
attempting to shoot a deer with a .243 caliber rifle. The appropriate
charges were issued.
During a routine fishing patrol officer Risher apprehended a man
fishing without a license. The man gave a false name to officer
Risher. After a lengthy interview the mans true identity was discovered.
He was charged with fishing without a license and interfering
with the duties of a Conservation Officer.
Conservation Officers Batten, Leonard and Vazquez attended a weeklong
defensive tactics course at Colliers Mill taught by the Operational
Skills Group. This is a nationally recognized group of advanced
defensive tactics instructors.
Retired deputy Chief Ed Markowski contacted the Southern Region
Office to report a diseased fawn on his neighbor’s property.
Lt. Leonard responded and captured the fawn. The animal was covered
with ticks and according to Ed Markowski, was dying from a secondary
infection. CO Risher transported the deer to Dr. Roscoe for examination.
Conservation Officer Ely and Lieutenant Cianciulli conducted a
routine patrol of the Cressey Lane Wildlife Management Area in
Lower Township, Cape May County. The first group they encountered
was found to be fishing without licenses and the appropriate summonses
were issued. The next individuals inspected were in the process
of loading a crack pipe and attempted to hide the pipe and a bottle
cap full of crack as the two CO’s approached. Both individuals
were immediately taken into custody. Lower Township responded
with three patrolmen and assisted in the charging and interviews.
One individual, a juvenile, was released and the second individual
was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and was also
released at the scene.
Conservation Officers Ely and Massey, with the assistance of Lieutenant
Cianciulli, have been conducting boat patrols of Champagne Island
in North Wildwood, Cape May County. The island is the summer home
and nesting area for Piping Plovers, Black Skimmers and Least
Terns. District 6 CO’s, with the help of District Eight
CO’s from the Marine Unit, are patrolling the area to ensure
that people aren’t entering an enclosure erected by the
Nongame Zoologist and that dogs aren’t being permitted on
the island. In three weekends District Six CO’s have made
contact with more than 120 individuals and attempted to educate
them as to the sensitive nature of the shorebird areas. A houseboat
was moored at the island and a food vendor in a large pontoon
boat has been observed anchored at the island.
On Sunday June 24th Officer Trembley was patrolling the southern
end of Fortescue Beach and observed three individuals treading
in shallow water. He observed the individuals for several minutes
and noticed that they were collecting horseshoe crabs and covertly
storing them in their vehicle. When Officer Trembley approached
them they dumped several horseshoe crabs back into the water.
Officer Trembley then checked their vehicle and found 40 live
horseshoe crabs. The individuals stated they were going to use
the crabs as fertilizer for their garden. Summonses were issued
to all three individuals for harvesting horseshoe crabs without
a permit, harvesting during the closed season and harvesting within
1,000 feet of the mean high water line. All 40 horseshoe crabs
were returned to the water unharmed.
On 6/27/07, while on routine patrol, CO Dravis apprehended a diver
in the borough of Deal with 2 tautog over the daily bag limit.
Another individual with the diver appeared familiar to CO Dravis,
so he requested a ‘Summonstrack’ check through the
Central Regional Office. CO Dravis discovered that he had issued
this individual a prior summons for a past fisheries violation
back in 1991 and that there was still an active warrant for this
individual. CO Dravis contacted Deal PD who subsequently transported
the individual to their headquarters for processing and posting
of his bail.
On 7/1/07, CO Dravis was on routine patrol in the borough of Belmar
when he inspected a vessel returning to the Belmar Municipal Ramp
with 4 persons aboard. The individuals were evasive when asked
about their fish and a subsequent inspection revealed a total
of 17 fluke aboard, 13 of which were between 12” and 16
_” in length. Three summonses were issued to three of the
persons aboard thus accounting for all 13 sublegal fish.
10 Bureau Defensive Tactics Instructors attended a weeklong
Instructor level training session that was held in June at the
Collier Mills Training Center. The training was provided by
Bob Ingersoll, Chief Executive Officer of Operational Skills
Group from Seaside California. The main topics of instruction
were in the areas of contact weapon defense; firearm retention/counter-retention
and control; arrest, control and compliance; and advanced tactical
baton. Funding for this invaluable instruction was supplemented
by the DEP’s Training Fund.
The Training Unit, assisted by Northern Region Firearms Instructor
Frank Panico, conducted Basic Firearms Training for the two
newly hired recruit Conservation Officers, Paul Toppin and Steve
Quarterly Firearms qualifications and training was recently
conducted for all Bureau Law Enforcement Personnel. This session
consisted of low level light training with the firearm. Several
Regional Firearms Instructors assisted with the training.
Recruit Conservation Officer Steve Sutton started his 25 week
State mandated Basic Police Instruction at the Morris County
Police Academy in Morristown. He is one on 41 recruit trainees
in the class and is expected to graduate in December