Cumberland Times-News

May 18, 2013

Md. has greater natural resources police presence than W.Va., Pa.

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— Whether you hunt and fish

in West Virginia, Pennsylvania,

Maryland or all three,

I’m sure

you have

heard the

lament that

more natural


police officers



Maybe you

have been

one of the


I know I hear it, not only

from anglers and hunters,

but from the natural

resources agencies in the

three states.

I had some informal knowledge

of the various law

enforcement staffing

throughout the tri-state, but

decided to ask for some hard

numbers and compare the


Before we start looking at

numbers, let’s agree that

there are a lot of ifs, ands

and buts involved.

For example, the Chesapeake

Bay demands a lot of

attention from the Maryland

Natural Resources Police,

requiring many officer hours.

On a smaller scale, Deep

Creek Lake in the summer is

a hub of activity for the officers

stationed in Almost


In Pennsylvania, 400 parttime

deputy officers are in

the field.

These numbers were provided

to the Times-News

early in April. According to

Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins, the

West Virginia Division of

Natural Resources had 76

field officers and 18 field sergeants.

Twenty-nine of the

state’s 55 counties are

staffed by just one officer.

Jenkins, a former field officer

in Mineral County, said

the agency was in the

process of hiring five new


An unnamed official within

the Pennsylvania Game

Commission provided this.

“The PGC has about 206

sworn full-time wildlife conservation

officers. To get the

total number you need to add

the Fish and Boat Commission

which has 86 full-time

waterways conservation officers

and 113 part-time


Thus, looking at only fulltime

enforcement personnel

in Pennsylvania, we see 292


In Maryland, 190 officers

are assigned to field operations,

though the total currently

employed is 213. The

agency’s authorized strength

is 238, according to Sgt.

Brian Albert.

During the past two General

Assembly sessions, legislation

has failed that would

have increased over time the

authorized strength to more

than 400 officers.

Recapping, we find 94

W.Va. officers, 292 Pa. officers

and 213 Md. officers. These

are full-time officers we are


Let’s try a couple other

ways to compare coot and

carp law enforcement

staffing. I use that term


How about an average

number of officers per county?

In the Mountain State, 94

officers and 55 counties gives

an average of 1.7. The average

for the Quaker State,

where there are 67 counties,

is 4.3. In Maryland, counting

the 22 counties, but not Baltimore

city, the average is 9.6.

Is it fair to compare

enforcement strength by size

of the states? I don’t know,

but let’s take a look.

West Virginia has 24,231

square miles, providing an

average of .004 officers per

square mile. In Pennsyltucky,

with 46,055 square miles, the

average is .006. Maryland

has 12,407 square miles giving

an average of .017 officers

per square mile.

One final comparison: officers

per licensed sportsmen.

Oh, let’s not.

Let’s just say that of the

three states, Pennsylvania

sells the most hunting and

fishing licenses and Maryland

sells the fewest.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike

Sawyers at msawyers@timesnews.