Virginia Division
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VAPBA Conservation Chapter Update


I would like to start off by apologizing for not providing more communication over the past few months, I had to step back from my duties at work and with the PBA in order to focus all of my attention on personal matters at home, which we should all put before anything else.   I would also like to thank Sean McGowan, Wayne Weller, and Rich Goszka for stepping up and carrying the weight in my absence, which you will read about later in this newsletter.  As you will see in this letter, our chapter has still been very active and we already have a lot planned for the rest of the year.
New Members from VMRC
Welcome to all of our new Virginia Conservation Police Chapter members, particularly those who just recently joined from VMRC.  After a request from officers in the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the PBA recruiter is making presentations at several of their area meetings. After two meetings with VMRC officers, their membership has grown to over two dozen.  Plans are to open discussions with these officers and new members as to promoting the future natural resources in Virginia.There is strength in numbers and the addition of members from DGIF and VMRC widens our support base and can only help us to advance what is best for all of our members from each agency. 
At our summer meeting, possibly in June, we will discuss changing the name of the chapter to better represent all organizations involved.  We look forward to having representatives from VMRC serving on our chapter board and helping guide our activities. 
Most of you have probably heard by now about that the legislation brought forth by Senator Deeds which could have directly affected our division.  The resolution he presented requesting a JLARC study to explore consolidating all state law enforcement under the Virginia State Police, was not passed in committee; however they did draft a letter to the reform committee requesting that they explore the issue.  While the reform committee has been inactive for a while, the upcoming elections for governor could bring new life to the topic of state/government reform depending on the ideas of the next governor. The budget amendment introduced by Senator Deeds which could have had an immediate positive impact on the DGIF law division unfortunately, did not survive.  We are still very appreciative of Senator Deeds for being so willing to try to help with our shortage of manpower in the law division, though it appears there are more inter-agency issues to address before the next budget amendment. 
The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia Fundraiser
In January our Grievance Chairperson, Wayne Weller and I attended The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia's annual fundraiser in Richmond, representing our chapter.  We had our own VAPBA Conservation Police Chapter table which was purchased by friends and supporters of our chapter who joined us at the table.  If you are unfamiliar with the foundation's involvement with DGIF, they raise a great deal of money to support our K-9 unit and are involved in many other projects aimed at preserving and getting more people, particularly youths, involved in outdoor recreation in Virginia.  Wayne and I were able to meet and speak with many major supporters of our agency, division, and PBA chapter.  DGIF Board members, Curtis Colgate and Scott Reed were in attendance as well as Director Duncan, Col. Watts, Major Minarik, and most of our K-9 Unit.
July Family Event
One result of our attendance at the fundraiser was further developing a relationship with a major supporter of our K-9 program who invited us to host a chapter event on his large riverfront property in Caroline County.  We made tentative plans to have a family event along the river in July to possibly include floating, fishing, riding ATV's, games for the kids and adults, and of course a cookout.  He has been so generous to give us our run of the property for the day.  Details will be forthcoming, but plan on attending in mid-July and bringing your family.  
September Dove Hunt
We will also be having our second VAPBA Conservation Police Officer Appreciation dove hunt in September.  The hunt will once again be in King George on Richard Sharp's property.  The property caretaker, along with chapter board member Paul Adkins, are already going to great measures to ensure that crops are planted properly to produce an excellent population of doves at the property this year.  I can assure you there is no expense being spared to develop the best possible food source to bring in the birds for an awesome hunt.  We are planning that event for mid-September possibly during the week when most of us are off work.  So make a note in your planners and the invitations will be sent out later in the summer.
Political Activity
On February 8, 2013, PBA Virginia Executive Director Sean McGowan and CPO Chapter PAC Chairperson, Rich Goszka, met with the Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech and his Executive Assistant I'man Robinson. The meeting was to promote our PBA chapter and profession. It was also an opportunity to discuss the consolidation of natural resources law enforcement in Virginia. Secretary Domenech asked numerous questions and both he and his assistant took notes on topics discussed. The Secretary also asked for more input in writing from our chapter on suggested changes in the organization of natural resources law enforcement.  
In August, the VAPBA State board, of which I am Vice President, will be hosting a political screening for the positions of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General for Virginia.  I will be on the panel for the screening and we will determine which candidates will be endorsed by the VAPBA in the upcoming elections.  These political screenings are our most useful tool to develop positive,close working relationships with politicians in Virginia therein providing avenues to seek assistance on issues that impact our members.  The longtime, excellent relationship we have with Senator Deeds is a result of these screenings.
Chapter T-shirts
I know that some people are waiting for their t-shirt orders.  We decided to change companies and took some time to explore different options, but have found what seems to be a good company actually based in northern Virginia, so an order will be placed in the near future.
PTSD Seminar
I would like to encourage all of you to think about attending one of the Police Benevolent Foundation's Behind the Badge Seminars.  A seminar is scheduled for July 16th in Fairfax, VA and as always is absolutely free.  These usually fill up fast so get registered soon if you are interested in attending this seminar.  The Behind the Badge Seminars address the stresses on law enforcement officers and provide advice and resources to help cope with all of the different stressors.  Even if you don't feel stressed out at the moment, the seminar may help you deal with something in the future or recognize another officer that may need help and enable you to provide them an outlet. 

Please click 
here to read about the seminars and register to attend in July.
Thanks for everything you do and please do not hesitate to contact me with any issues, concerns, or questions you have, as I always welcome your input since we are working for you.
Sonny Nipper
VAPBA Conservation Chapter President

Virginia Natural Resources Police
VAPBA Natural Resources Police Chapter Update

June 19, 2013

On June 13th, we held a Conservation Police Chapter meeting in Williamsburg. Thanks again to George Wilson for setting up an excellent location. Among those in attendance were five of our new members from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Due to their interest and attendance we spent the majority of the meeting familiarizing them with our chapter and the PBA. I provided a brief history of our chapter's evolution and activities over the past couple years and we discussed some of the issues we have faced as well as the direction we are planning to go with our chapter.

VAPBA Conservation Chapter Update

April 18, 2013

Welcome to all of our new Virginia Conservation Police Chapter members, particularly those who just recently joined from VMRC. After a request from officers in the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the PBA recruiter is making presentations at several of their area meetings. After two meetings with VMRC officers, their membership has grown to over two dozen.

National Wild Turkey Federation Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of Year

February 4, 2013

Congratulations to Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer Dewayne Sprinkle for being named the National Wild Turkey Federation Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of Year for the Virginia Chapter of the NWTF.