DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin welcomes two new K-9 officers to duty for the Division of Parks & Recreation

(Left-to-right) Parks Enforcement Officer Trevor Ditmore; K9 Officer Leo; DNREC Secretary Shawn. M. Garvin; Parks Chief of Enforcement Wayne Kline; Parks Enforcement Officer John Lister; K9 Officer Vos, Division of Parks & Recreation Director Ray Bivens.

DOVER – DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin welcomed the Division of Parks & Recreation’s two new additions to their ranks, K-9s Vos and Leo. The K9 officers are officially on the job today, after graduating yesterday from the Delaware State Police Canine Program.

In August, Officers Trevor Ditmore and John Lister, of DNREC’s Natural Resources Police State Park’s Enforcement section, traveled to Vohne Liche Kennels in Indiana, selected the two dogs, and brought them back to Delaware. The kennel, a full service canine teaching facility, has trained police and military dogs for more than 5,000 enforcement and government agencies. The dogs received further training for 12 weeks at the Delaware State Police Academy, which also provided time to bond with their partners.

“We are pleased to welcome K-9 officers Vos and Leo,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The addition of canine teams to Delaware’s state parks adds an additional layer of safety for park guests. Their presence will deter crime and at the same time engage the community. The teams will be available for outreach through demonstrations and programming to the community as a whole, and also to specific state park events and summer camps.”

Officer Ditmore will be stationed at Lums Pond State Park, and primarily serve northern state parks. He will be paired with Leo, a two-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd. Corporal Lister will be stationed with Vos, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, at Cape Henlopen State Park, and mainly serve the southern Delaware state parks.

K-9 officers Vos and Leo are now fully trained for, among other jobs, scent tracking and patrol. The two will be able to fulfill multiple tracking missions to recover lost hikers, missing children and the elderly, and suspect apprehension. In addition to these duties, each canine team will specialize in either narcotic or explosive detection.

So far, more than $6,000 has been raised for the state parks K9 program by the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park, the Blue Heron Agility Association of Delaware, and through private donations. The public can support the program with tax-deductible donations through the Delaware Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1636, Wilmington, DE 19899. The memo line should include Delaware State Parks K9 Fund. The public can also contribute to the Go Fund Me crowd-funding program at www.gofundme.com/support-new-de-state-park-k9039s.

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 331

DNREC Environmental Crimes Unit K-9 officer apprehends fugitive wanted for assaulting Maryland police officer

NEWARK – A DNREC Natural Resources Police K-9 officer apprehended a man Aug. 9 who fled when Park Rangers sought to question him as a person of interest in a series of recent break-ins at White Clay Creek State Park, and who was later identified as a fugitive accused of assaulting a Maryland police officer.

DNREC Natural Resources Police Park Rangers arrested Jesse J. Planter, 29, no known residence, after he was tracked by a DNREC Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit K-9 unit for more than a mile through White Clay Creek State Park. Planter surrendered without incident after the K-9 officer located him beneath heavy brush inside the park.

Planter gave false information about his identity when he was taken into custody, but after positive ID was made, DNREC Natural Resources Police learned that he was wanted by the Carroll County, Md. Sheriff’s office for assault on a police officer. Planter was charged by DNREC Natural Resources Police Parks Rangers with being a fugitive from another state; criminal impersonation; resisting arrest, and entering or remaining on closed lands without permission, among other charges.

Planter was held at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, after waiving extradition to Maryland.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 220