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  • TOP FISHING NEWS: Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin on the Active Conservation Law Enforcement Investigations

    John Griffin Maryland Department of Natural Resources Maryland FishingSome recent public statements by lawmakers and members of the media have implied that the Maryland
    Natural Resources Police may have acted improperly during their investigations of criminal violations
    of fisheries laws. Those implications are completely false, and are especially troubling because the
    officers are unable to defend themselves; to do so would require disclosure of details that would
    seriously compromise these investigations.

    The Natural Resource Police have statewide authority to enforce all State laws and investigate all
    suspected criminal activity. When officers have enough information to believe certain investigative
    techniques are needed, they take the information to the Circuit Court, where a judge determines
    whether there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that criminal activity is taking place. If
    probable cause is determined, the judge may then issue a warrant authorizing investigative techniques
    for the police to follow during the investigation.

    If the investigation results in an arrest, defense attorneys will have access to all details of the warrant
    and investigative techniques, and the trial judge will determine whether the evidence was gathered
    properly. The proper place for examination of these investigative procedures is the courtroom, after
    the investigation is completed — not in the press or through public debate during a criminal
    investigation, when all the facts cannot be disclosed.

    The publicity surrounding current criminal investigations has already alerted lawbreakers, thus
    reducing the chances of their being caught while committing these crimes. Disclosure of any more
    detail would further compromise active investigations of these serious crimes.
    The egregious poaching activities uncovered over the past few weeks — through the outstanding work
    of our NRP officers — have served to underscore the critical, urgent importance of apprehending any
    and all who would violate the public trust, stealing from our law abiding watermen, our citizens and our
    future.

    The Department of Natural Resources stands behind and in full support of our Natural Resources Police
    officers, who are following proper procedures in compliance with the law. And we most respectfully
    ask that Maryland's lawmakers, in their critical role as keepers of the public trust, support our
    conservation officers and allow them to conduct these investigations on behalf of the citizens of our
    State. To do otherwise further jeopardizes the integrity of criminal investigations, the health of our
    fragile resources, and the safety of our law enforcement officers.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. n2striper's Avatar
      n2striper -
      Dance..Dance..Dance....
    1. bring_em_on's Avatar
      bring_em_on -
      Anybody with even just a little legal knowledge knows that defense attorneys scrutinize every detail of the investigation. There is no quicker paycheck for a defense attorney than to get the case thrown out for improper procedures. Great job NRP!!!
    1. Big E's Avatar
      Big E -
      It would be nice if we knew which "lawmakers" supported and did not support the DNR in this siutation. I, for one, think nothing more matters to these guys then our vote come next election time. So it would be good to know this info so we can elect men and women that support my and many of your better interests when it comes to natural resources.

      -Evans
    1. reeltor's Avatar
      reeltor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Big E View Post
      It would be nice if we knew which "lawmakers" supported and did not support the DNR in this siutation. I, for one, think nothing more matters to these guys then our vote come next election time. So it would be good to know this info so we can elect men and women that support my and many of your better interests when it comes to natural resources.

      -Evans
      I completely agree with you Evans. Great point.

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