Law Enforcement Updates

Kentucky conservation officer graduates from FBI National Academy

200 relay participants

 March 31, 2022

Conservation Officer Lt. David Marques represented the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as one of 258 law enforcement officers selected for the 281st session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and graduated from the 10-week training course on March 17.

FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered remarks at the ceremony. Class spokesperson Jeremy Sherrod of the Texas Department of Public Safety represented the graduating officers.

The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of demonstrated leadership qualities. The 10-week residential program, which provides coursework in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science, serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.

Marques is in his 18th year of service with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division, currently serving as the 6th District Lieutenant.

Officers chose six courses from a number of options, with an emphasis on leadership and officer wellness. Officers also had the opportunity to participate in weekly physical challenges culminating with the “Yellow Brick Road” obstacle course.

Since its founding in 1935, more than 53,000 law enforcement professionals have graduated from the FBI National Academy. The 281st Session consisted of men and women from 45 states, the District of Columbia and members of law enforcement agencies from 32 countries, five military organizations, six federal and civilian agencies.

Conservation Officers honor fallen officers by competing in 200-mile running relay

200 relay participants

 October 25, 2021

A team of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers recently honored the Kentucky conservation officers who have died in the line of duty by competing in a 200-mile running relay that started in Clermont and finished in downtown Lexington.

The Runnin’ Down Poachers team that competed in The Bourbon Chase on Oct. 15-16 included conservation officers Capt. Jeremy McQueary, Lt. David Marques, Sgt. Josh Robinson, Sgt. Brad Stafford, Sgt. Robbie Spears, Sgt. Jason Ice, Tim Brett, Bryan Hill, Darin Jacoby, Tyler Hanna, Kurt Bulgrin.

Each runner was responsible for running three separate sections of the 203 mile course.  The team finished third out of 13 teams in the Military/Public Service Division and 52 out of 323 teams with a time of 26 hours, 40:04 minutes.

The team would like to extend a special "thank you" to Marcus Bowling and Logan Reynolds, each of the Law Enforcement Division, for all of their behind-the-scenes work in support of the runners.

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Conservation Officer's Association​

Pictured from left to right: Ofc. Darin Jacoby, Sgt. Joshua Robinson, Ofc. Kurt Bulgrin, Zach Pickett (Nature Conservancy), Ofc. Tim Brett, Cpt. Jeremy McQueary, Sgt. Robbie Spears, Ofc. Tyler Hanna, Lt. David Marques, Ofc. Bryan Hill, Sgt. Jason Ice, Sgt. Brad Stafford.

Conservation Officers honored at Law Enforcement awards ceremony


 October 22, 2021

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources hosted a Law Enforcement awards ceremony Oct. 11 at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. Honored at the ceremony were 24 conservation officers representing the past two graduating classes from the Fish and Wildlife Academy, as well as conservation officers who have earned promotions, received awards for their work in the line of duty and recent retirees.

  • Graduates of Class 23: Tory Bickers, James Brace, Robin Martinez, Kevin Miller, James Neyhouse, Miranda Perry, Michael Pritchard, Glen Shortt, Gabe Suthoff, Nathan Wildharber.
  • Graduates of Class 24: Bronson Abrams, Joseph Braden, Kurt Bulgrin, Samantha Faoro, Arthur Gayheart, Tyler Hanna, Darin Jacoby, Connor McEvoy, Logan Reynolds, Jonathan Seagraves, C.J. Smith, Dakota Turner, Bryce Young, Keith Young.
  • Recent promotions (July 2019-present): Lt. Adam Avery, Sgt. Jason Ice, Capt. Greg Watts, Capt. Tony Dunker, Sgt. Evan Ethington, Lt. Dustin Mullins, Sgt. Daniel Richardson, Sgt. Kyle Webb, Sgt. John Jackson, Lt. Scott McIntosh, Sgt. Chris Riggsby, Sgt. Thomas Blackwell, Sgt. Bryan Dolen, Sgt. Jared Ervin, Lt. David Kuhn, Capt. Jeremy McQueary, Lt. Chris Fossitt, Sgt. Jason Ping, Sgt. Josh Robinson, Sgt. Lucas Tucker, Lt. Jason Slone, Sgt. Robbie Spears, Sgt. Loren Clark, Lt. William Earlywine, Sgt. Chris Mulholland, Sgt. Brad Stafford, Capt. Andrew Suit, Sgt. Jerrod Alley, Lt. Chris King, Sgt. Glenn Smith, Sgt. Wayne Wilson.
  • Bravery Award: Steven Combs, Sgt. Jason Ping, BriSorrean Smith and Paul Sorrell. The Bravery Award is bestowed on officers who perform extraordinary acts of bravery in the line of duty.
  • Lifesaving Award: Sgt. Jerrod Alley, Sgt. Loren Clark, Sgt. Jared Ervin, Glenn Griffie, Sgt. Travis Neal and Capt. Andrew Suit. The Livesaving Award is bestowed on officers who distinguished themselves by performing a lifesaving act.
  • Meritorious Award: Andrew Amburgey, Tory Bickers, Tim Brett, Kurt Bulgrin, Christon Cornett and Sgt. Jason Ping. The Meritorious Award is bestowed on officers or civilian personnel who distinguish themselves by an act of courage or other meritorious service.
  • Conservation Officer Sgt. Kyle Webb was recognized for being the 2020 Mississippi Flyway Officer of the Year for Kentucky and the entire flyway for excellence in waterfowl enforcement, public outreach and education. Conservation Officer Evan Hughes was the 2019 Mississippi Flyway Officer of the Year for Kentucky. The Mississippi Flyway includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
  • Conservation Officers Sgt. Bryan Dolen (2019) and Bryan Hill (2020) were recognized for receiving Officer of the Year awards from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA). Award winners are selected based on public outreach, excellence, attitude, teamwork, achievements, efficiency and innovation, leadership and other relevant factors.
  • Conservation Officers Kyle Clark (2019) and Cody Berry (2020) were recognized for receiving the Shikar Safari Officer of the Year Award, which honors an officer who has shown exemplary performance in his or her duties in the protection of wildlife, enforcement of game laws and implementation of conservation programs.
  • Conservation Officers Zach Carney (2019) and Benjamin Morris (2020) were recognized as the recipients of the Marvin “Butch” Potts Memorial Award as the state Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Winners of this award performed an outstanding service to the agency or state in any facet of recreational boating safety, including enforcement, education, search and rescue, outreach, innovation, accident investigation and heroic action. Carney also was recognized by the Kentucky chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation as its 2020 Officer of the Year.
  • Retirement certificates were presented to the following conservation officers: Capt. Richard Adkins, Shane Amburgey, John Anderson, Adam Avery, Sgt. Jason Bolton, Bryan Bowling, Marcus Bowling, Lt. Patrick Brannen, Sgt. Louis Broyles, Capt. Stuart Bryant, Maj. Larry Estes, Lt. Richard Foster, Capt. William Grayson, John Harris, Robert Howard, Lowell Kennard, Sgt. Glenn Kitchen, Sgt. William Land, Lt. Raymond Lawson, Capt. Richard Mehlbauer, Sgt. Joseph Mills, Lt. James Nason, Lt. Chad Parker, Capt. Charles Phillips, Chad Rice, Capt. Richard Skaggs, Richard Waite, Jeffrey Whittinghill and Capt. Brett Zalla.

Conservation officers respond when boat explodes, injures one man in Gallatin County

 August 20, 2021

Four conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources have been nominated for meritorious service awards for their actions following a boat explosion that injured one person Aug. 14 at a boat ramp in Gallatin County.

The incident happened as Conservation Officers Sgt. Jason Ping and Tory Bickers were finishing a shift in the area of the Craigs Creek "Rock the Boat" Raft-Up and as Conservation Officers Kurt Bulgrin and Christon Cornett were loading their equipment into a patrol boat at the dock in preparation for the start of their shift.

The explosion sent the engine compartment cover of the 1989 Baja 226 airborne and the boat began to burn while partially submerged in the water at the Craigs Creek Boat Ramp. The ramp provides access to Craigs Creek and the Ohio River upstream of Markland Locks and Dam.

A 34-year-old Crestwood, Kentucky man, who was the only person on the vessel at the time, jumped into the water. Officer Bickers handed Sgt. Ping the fire extinguisher from their patrol boat and the officers ran toward the fire. Sgt. Ping gave the fire extinguisher to the man, who was still in the water, as Officers Cornett and Bulgrin retrieved fire extinguishers from their patrol vehicles.

The driver who was backing the boat into the water when the explosion happened was instructed to pull the boat out of the water so officers could more effectively fight the fire.

"The flames had grown much larger as Officer Cornett and Officer Bulgrin deployed their fire extinguishers, disregarding their own safety to put the fire out," the award nomination reads. "At the same time, Officer Bickers directed her attention to the subject that was in the boat. His initial adrenaline had worn off and he was now in great pain."

The victim suffered burns to his legs, arms and face. Officers Bickers, Bulgrin and Cornett soaked towels with bottled water and applied them to the man's arms and legs. An off-duty nurse who witnessed the incident assisted the officers.

Officer Bulgrin then retrieved another fire extinguisher and put out hot spots on the boat as Sgt. Ping notified dispatch and requested EMS.

Once at the scene, EMS personnel determined the man would need to be airlifted to the hospital and informed Sgt. Ping a helicopter that had been giving aerial tours would need to be grounded. Officer Cornett boarded the patrol vessel and ordered the helicopter to stay on the ground while Officer Bickers attended to the injured man and comforted a distressed witness.

The man was flown to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Kentucky's conservation officers are sworn law enforcement officers with statewide jurisdiction and have a primary mission focus on hunting, fishing and boating laws.

Conservation officers work to ensure compliance with hunting and fishing laws and ensure that the state's waterways are a safe place for all to enjoy by utilizing a two-pronged approach consisting of education and enforcement. 


Kentucky conservation officers wrap up busy Fourth of July weekend safety efforts

  July 9, 2021

The Fourth of July weekend was a busy one on Kentucky waterways for boaters and conservation officers with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Conservation officers investigated four boating-related accidents, but we’re thankful to report that there were no boating-related fatalities or drownings on Kentucky waterways from July 2-4.

The holiday weekend coincided with Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign designed to educate the public about the danger of boating while impaired. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife increased the presence of conservation officers around the state’s lakes and rivers, both as a reminder not to boat under the influence and to help ensure public safety on Kentucky’s waterways.

Conservation officers made 18 arrests for boating under the influence, 16 arrests for other alcohol or drug-related offenses and issued 35 tickets to boat operators for violating the requirement that passengers under age 12 must wear life jackets in the open part of the boat while it is in motion.

Officers also performed 1,419 fishing license checks, issued 72 citations for fishing without a license and conducted safety checks on several vessels.

Being safe on the water is no accident. Know the rules, and please wear your life jackets; they've always got your back.


Conservation Officers Help Kayakers in Peril

  June 3, 2021

A call from a concerned citizen and quick action by conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources produced a fortunate outcome for two kayakers in Warren County who found themselves in a dangerous situation on May 29.

Officers Bryan Hill and Trevor Lowe responded that afternoon to Drakes Creek at Phil Moore Park in Warren County for a report of a woman and a small child on a kayak not wearing life jackets.

The air temperature was in the 50s for most of the day with winds blowing 8-15 miles per hour. When the officers arrived, the child was showing signs of hypothermia. Officer Lowe moved the child to his patrol truck and turned the heat on. He also provided the child something to eat and drink.

The woman was cited for the child not wearing a life jacket and received a warning for not having a life jacket of her own onboard the kayak.

The incident serves as an important reminder about knowing the rules of the water and the conditions to expect before you go. There must be a life jacket for each person on board a vessel. Children ages 12 and younger must wear a life jacket while in the open part of a boat that is underway. It’s also a good idea to let somebody know where you plan to go and when you expect to be on and off the water.


Conservation Officers Assist "Cops and Bobbers" Youth Fishing Event

By Sgt. Daniel Richardson May 25, 2021

The Ballard County Sheriff's Office hosted its second annual "Cops and Bobbers" fishing event earlier this month in Kevil. Similar events are held across the country and are designed to connect youths with law enforcement in their communities.

Deputies with the Ballard County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources District 1 Conservation Officers assisted with the event held May 15 at a private pond in Ballard County.

The deputies and officers helped the youths bait hooks, cast and release fish. The young anglers kept everyone busy by catching bass, bluegill, crappie, and some large catfish. Lunchtime allowed for more interaction between the youths and law enforcement representatives.

Thanks to event sponsors, there were free prizes, giveaways and trophies awarded to participants.

Sponsors included James Marine, Ellis Crappie Shack, Fast Eddie's, Kentucky Lake Outdoors, Hughes Market, Bluegrass Restaurant, Pepsi, Citizens Deposit Bank, FCB Bank, Crappie Magnet, and EZ Drift.

Law Enforcement Pic 

Conservation Officers Deliver Memorable Experience for Harlan County Academy Cadets

By Conservation Officer Kevin Miller May 14, 2021

Conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources assisted the Appalachian Challenge Academy with its annual Martins Fork Lake Day on April 23.

The academy in Harlan County serves at-risk youth from across Kentucky and teaches them life skills to help them succeed.

I was asked if Kentucky Fish and Wildlife conservation officers could help make the academy’s lake day more enjoyable. Officers embraced the opportunity to make a positive impact.

We acquired fishing poles and archery equipment from our agency. When we arrived and started unloading our equipment, the students began gravitating toward either archery or fishing. Officers helped teach them the basic skills for both activities.

The participating students enjoyed themselves and each received a gift to remember the experience. Overall, the day was a success.

I would like to thank the conservation officers who assisted with the event: Officer Chris Maggard, Officer Kyle Clark, Officer Blaine Green, Officer Arthur Gayhart and Lt. Jason Slone. We would also like to thank Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Boating Education Coordinator Marcus Bowling and Aquatic Education Program Coordinator Easton Copley for helping to acquire the fishing poles.

We look forward to the next Martins Fork Lake Day with the Appalachian Challenge Academy.

Law Enforcement Pic 

We're Here to Serve

  May 7, 2021

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers are a huge part of their communities, and do their best to keep everyone in it safe. This week, a three-year old girl in Knott Co. went missing from her home. Over 24 hours later, the search was still on, but hope was not lost. Wednesday evening, the little girl was located and two Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers were some of the first on scene to feed her and provide comfort until she was transported to an ambulance. Several agencies and many volunteers from the area assisted in the search, and thankfully she is alive and well due to those efforts. We are extremely proud of Lt. Jason Slone, Sgt. Homer Pigman, and Officers Bobby Owens, Glenn Griffie, Shane Amburgey, Dakota Turner, and C.J. Smith for their determination in helping to locate the girl and get her back to her family.

Law Enforcement Pic 

Conservation Officers Mentor Youth Turkey Hunters

By Sgt. Robbie Spears April 22, 2021

There is a long-standing joke that no one wants to hunt with a conservation officer. A group of children who went hunting during the youth-only spring turkey season would say the opposite is true.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Conservation Officer Bobby Owens turned the idea of getting youth turkey hunters out with their local conservation officer into a reality.

Officer Owens recruited other conservation officers in the 7th Law Enforcement District to help with the event, including John Fields, Shane Amburgey, Glenn Griffie and Dakota Turner. The 7th District includes Breathitt, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry and Pike counties.

Each conservation officer accompanied a youth hunter, teaching them about turkey hunting and trying to call in a gobbler. It was the first time several of the youths had been on a turkey hunt. Not only was the event successful in getting several youth hunters in the woods for the first time, but Gabriel Griffie was also able to harvest his first turkey, a nice big tom.

Law Enforcement Pic 

Participating youth hunters received turkey calls and a camo mesh face mask, courtesy of Owens and a donation from the Pikeville Walmart. The 7th District Fish and Wildlife Federation and the Dewey Lake Fish and Game Club provided lunch on April 3.

Thank you, Officer Owens and all the 7th District officers involved in keeping the tradition alive!