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Environmental Police Officer Recognition

By Kurt Blanchard, Acting Chief, RI DEM Division of Law Enforcement

Every year the Division of Law Enforcement recognizes some really-fine work by officers of the Division who have gone above and beyond. This recognition comes through three very supportive groups who believe in the Conservation Law Enforcement mission. The Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association is made up of member states / provinces from the United States and Canada. This organization was founded in 1942 and has continually supported our profession through their actions and annual support of an officer of the year award. The second group is Shikar-Safari Club International; this conservation organization has supported our officers through awards, grants and insurance programs since 1981. The final group is the National Wild Turkey Federation (Rhode Island State Chapter). With the support of these fine organizations the following officers were recognized for outstanding work in 2017.

Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association

Please accept my nomination of Environmental Police Officer Christopher Duguid and his K9 partner, Bear of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Law Enforcement for the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association’s Officer of the Year. EPO Christopher Duguid is a 14-year veteran of the agency and is currently assigned to the Marine Unit.

EPO Duguid is a model officer who is engaged in all facets of our profession. He is an extremely active officer and has lead the way in training and coordination of our K9 program. The goodwill and public support developed through our program is a credit to EPO Duguid’s hard work and commitment. An example of his dedication to training and the development of his abilities is illustrated in a call to service where EPO Duguid was asked to pursue a bank robbery suspect in the Town of Narragansett. EPO Duguid and his partner, Bear responded to the bank where he was asked to track the suspect who had fled from the bank on foot. The K9 team set off on a track that covered several terrain changes as well as an obstruction leading to an out-building on a nearby property. Once at this location, Bear indicated on the building where the suspect was located, and the suspect was taken into custody without incident.

The apprehension of this bank robbery suspect was a positive reflection on EPO Duguid and his partner, Bear, as well as the Department. In consideration and appreciation of EPO Christopher Duguid’s efforts in this incident, I nominate him as the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Officer of the Year.

Shikar-Safari International

Please accept my nomination of Environmental Police Officer Adam Hill of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Law Enforcement for the Shikar Safari Club International, Wildlife Officer of the Year. EPO Adam Hill is a 13-year veteran of the agency and is currently assigned to the Marine Unit.

EPO Hill is a model officer who is engaged in all facets of our profession. He is an extremely active officer and has facilitated several investigations into illegal hunting and fishing complaints. One such example of his dedication to the profession is illustrated in an arrest made by EPO Hill and EPO Kevin Snow. On the evening of August 20, 2017 both officers were working striped bass enforcement in and around the docks in Newport Harbor. The officers had received information of the illegal commercialization of striped bass with Rhode Island recreational fish being transported to Massachusetts for commercial sale. During this patrol the officers encountered a known commercial fisherman who they observed enter a marina via his boat, and then in a very short time exit from the marina again by boat and move to an area at the State Pier where this vessel is traditionally docked. The officers approached this fisherman to check for compliance. The fisherman indicated he had caught fish but that none were keepers so he released them. The officers finished their boarding and allowed the fisherman to leave. Officer Hill suspected that this fisherman was not telling the truth and proceeded to walk the docks around the marina where they had originally observed this fisherman. On the end of one of the piers Officer Hill located a cooler containing striped bass. Officer Hill then stayed in the area to surveil this cooler. At approximately 8:00 a.m. after six hours of surveillance, the officers observed the fisherman enter the dock and watched as he retrieved the cooler full of striped bass. Once the cooler and fish were taken to shore by the fisherman the officers each approached him from separate directions. Officer Hill was the first to engage the fisherman and take him into custody for exceeding his daily limit of striped bass, failure to fin clip striped bass, and obstruction of an officer.

This case, as well as EPO Hill’s daily level of patrol effort and follow-through on investigations was a positive reflection of EPO Hill as well as the Department. In consideration and appreciation of EPO Adam Hill’s efforts in this incident, I nominate him to receive the Shikar Safari Club International, Wildlife Officer of the Year.

National Wild Turkey Federation (Rhode Island State Chapter)

Please accept my nomination of Environmental Police Officer Michael Schipritt of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Law Enforcement for the NWTF Rhode Island Chapter, Officer of the Year. EPO Michael Schipritt is a 14-year veteran of the agency and is currently assigned to the Upland Unit and patrols the Towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett.

EPO Schipritt is a model officer who is engaged in all facets of our profession. He is an extremely active officer and has spearheaded several investigations that have led to citations and arrests for hunting deer out of season, failure to tag a deer, hunting migratory birds over bait, taking a protected bird, non-resident in possession of a resident turkey tag, and a felony offense of a person being in possession of a firearm after being convicted of a crime of violence. It is not because of EPO Schipritt’s steadfast patrol activity that I nominate him for this award; rather, it is for his extracurricular activities where he has honored our profession.

In the past year EPO Schipritt has taken the lead in promoting an Operation Game Thief (OGT) program in the State of Rhode Island. While working closely with International Wildlife Crimestoppers, a non-profit agency dedicated to reducing the illegal taking of fish and wildlife resources, EPO Schipritt has brought great recognition to this program in Rhode Island. He has organized a sporting clays fundraiser, sought a grant to purchase a turkey decoy, and continues to work toward the development of a statewide OGT program in Rhode Island. These efforts have been completed after-hours during EPO Schipritt’s personal time. His efforts have raised approximately $12,000 that will be used in the promotion of IWC/OGT in Rhode Island and nationally. Additionally, the State was awarded a $1,000 grant to purchase an eastern wild turkey decoy. This decoy will be deployed to deter the illegal take of wild turkeys.

In consideration and appreciation of EPO Michael Schipritt’s efforts in these operations, I nominate him to receive the NWTF Rhode Island Chapter, Officer of the Year.

It is with immense pride and gratitude that these officers were nominated and selected as officers of the year for their respective sponsoring organizations. The story behind these nominations shows the depth of training, skills and dedication to the mission of Conservation Law Enforcement that our officers all believe in. We are extremely proud of these officers and all they have accomplished over the past year.