Eric Douglas Published

DNR Gets New K9 Units And A Raise

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As part of the 125th anniversary celebration of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Law Enforcement Division, Gov. Jim Justice had two big announcements Tuesday.

First, he announced that the force is receiving six new K9 units. The officers and their dog partners were introduced at a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center Tuesday.

Second, in a surprise statement, the governor said all DNR officers will receive a $6,000 raise.

The wage increase will take effect immediately and will apply to all active WVDNR Police officers and new hires going forward. It will be paid for through an already-funded special revenue account.

“Our WVDNR Police officers do an incredible job every day protecting our state’s natural resources and keeping our state parks and forests, wildlife management areas, lakes, rivers and streams safe for folks to enjoy,” Justice said. “They deserve to be compensated for the hard work and dedication they put in day in and day out, and I am proud to announce this pay raise, which I believe will help us attract and retain the best and brightest to this important role.”

WVDNR Police officers are responsible for enforcing the state’s game and fish laws and rules relating to littering, forestry, state parks, environmental and solid waste, pleasure boating and whitewater rafting.

They also police the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system, assist the State Police and other law enforcement agencies and first responders and oversee the state’s hunter education and boating safety education programs.

Justice joined by DNR law enforcement chief Col. Bobby Cales for the ceremony to introduce the K9 units. Cales explained that all six regions of the state will receive a unit.

“The program’s primary purpose is to provide and increase support to our outdoorsmen, men and women, through article searches, search and rescue and fish and game detection,” Cales said.

All six dogs still have to complete their training with their handlers.

The WVDNR Police, which is the state’s oldest law enforcement agency, celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2022.