June 2007

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Monthly Highlights
Bureau of Law Enforcement

Northern Region Highlights

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 party.

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 County Town.

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 same day.

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 July 10-14.

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 were issued.

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.

Training Highlights

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 Sutton.

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






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Last Update August 21, 2007