The other day I was driving in the left lane on Route 100, talking on my cell phone while fixing my contact lens and eating my lunch.
I had a great game of Words with Friends going.
As I reached back to rummage in my trunk for my mascara and adjust my navigation, I noticed a police car behind me. I quickly dropped my Big Mac and phone and put away my portable hair straightener. I pulled into the center lane and the police car passed me.
But it wasn’t a regular police car at all. It was labeled “Natural Resources Police.”
I had never heard of such an agency. So of course, I picked my smart phone off the car floor and Googled them.
The Maryland State Natural Resources Police (NRP) is Maryland's oldest state law enforcement organization and one of the oldest conservation law enforcement organizations in the country. According to the website, NRP is the “enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources” and the only police in addition to the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.
The NRP functions as a public safety agency. It has statewide authority to enforce conservation, boating and criminal laws. The NRP is the main law enforcement agency for Maryland's State Parks, State Forests, and public land that is owned and managed by the Department of Natural Resources.
NRP is also responsible for search and rescue operations - on land and sea - and is the lead agency for homeland security on Maryland waters.
The agency consists of 249 officers and a staff of civilian and volunteer personnel who have fought some significant crime and made some serious rescues.
Exactly what kind of crime does the NRP investigate? Glad you asked. Here's a sample from NRP blotters from the past few years:
- Howard County – After a shotgun slug struck a daycare center in Clarksville, an NRP investigation led to the arrest of an Ellicott City man. According to NRP, he had been hunting deer on nearby private property. He was charged with negligent hunting and failure to report harvest of deer within 24 hours.
- Baltimore County - The NRP charged three people with exceeding the daily bag limit of Canada geese near Upperco.
- Carroll County - The NRP charged a Mount Airy man with deer hunting with a firearm during closed season. The man allegedly shot a four-point buck white-tailed deer in his backyard, off Hickory Lane near Mount Airy.
- Montgomery County - After someone called NRP to report that a hunting arrow had come through his front window and landed on his couch, a ensuing investigation led to the arrest of a Germantown man. He was charged with several "natural resources and criminal violations."
There are NRP offices throughout the state, which is divided into eight districts.
Find an arrow in your sofa? You can report it 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 410-260-8888. This includes boating, fishing and hunting violations. NRP also offers boating and hunting safety education classes. For more information, call 410-643-8502.