WVDNR Police celebrate 125 years with Hinton monument to state’s first game warden

HINTON, W.VA. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police celebrated its 125th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 22 during a ceremony at the Summers County Courthouse in Hinton.

During the ceremony, WVDNR Police officials unveiled a monument to commemorate Emery Smith, a native of Hinton who was appointed West Virginia’s first game warden in 1897.

At 125 years, the WVDNR Police is the state’s oldest law enforcement agency.

“We are an agency built on 125 years of integrity, 125 years of loyal service to the people of West Virginia and 125 years of pride in who we’ve been and who we’ve become,” said Col. Bobby Cales, chief of the WVDNR’s Law Enforcement Section. “When Captain Smith became game warden, he was one man responsible for enforcing all the fish and game laws in the entire state. Today, the West Virginia Natural Resources Police includes 126 dedicated men and women who are widely recognized, highly trained and well respected within the ranks of our nation’s fish and game protectors.”

WVDNR Police officers enforce the state’s game and fish laws and rules and laws relating to littering, forestry, state parks, environmental and solid waste, pleasure boating and whitewater rafting. WVDNR Police officers also police the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system and assist the State Police and other law enforcement agencies and first responders and oversee the state’s hunter education and boating safety education programs.

To learn more about the WVDNR Police, visit WVdnr.gov/law-enforcement.

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