Feb. 3, 2022
DNR Police step up to aid W.Va. Corrections
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 60 police officers with West Virginia's Division of Natural Resources have completed specialized training to assist the state's Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The 61 officers can now fill support roles at West Virginia prisons and jails. Amid ongoing staffing challenges at DCR, this will free up correctional officers to walk posts and for other front-line positions.
“Every day and around the clock, our men and women perform a truly, truly honorable form of public service,” said Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen. “We’re especially appreciative to the DNR Police for stepping in to help us. Together, we will persevere and continue to take on challenges as they arise.”
Colonel Bobby Cales, chief of the Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section, said that as his agency pursues its mission as its main priority, it remains ever-ready to assist a fellow agency in a time of need.
"Our agency's number one priority is to protect the citizens of West Virginia and its natural resources. The Natural Resources Police always stand ready and willing to serve our great state," Cales said. "Our agency has successfully answered the call many times in the past, including in response to such emergencies as floods, fires, blizzards, and the pandemic. The Natural Resources Police officer has an ever-evolving role, and I am confident that our officers will adapt to this mission as well. I look forward to teaming up with our colleagues within the Corrections and Rehabilitation system, and together succeeding in this endeavor."
The DNR Police officers received eight hours of instruction virtually on Friday from DCR's Bureau of Training and Staff Development. Coursework topics included staff and inmate interactions, dealing with contraband and restricted items, and the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.
The participating officers will receive additional, on-site training once assigned to a facility. Planned support roles include perimeter security checks, staffing facility control towers and hospital detail.
Echoing Colonel Cales, Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Sandy praised the planned collaboration.
"There is so much honor when a law enforcement officer crosses county lines, state lines, and country lines to help others in need," said Sandy, a retired career U.S. Treasury agent. "I thank and commend the colonel for crossing the fence line to assist DCR in providing security in our time of need."
The trained DNR Police officers could begin filling support roles as early as this weekend. These officers will continue their regular schedules for their agency, and work at DCR facilities as overtime. DCR will reimburse DNR Police for the resulting costs.
# # #