Game Department Reorganizes Law Division

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The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) announced that it has restructured its Law Enforcement Division to enhance operational efficiencies. The changes, which go into effect Jan. 10, primarily involve the reclassification of work titles and roles. VDGIF Interim Director Colonel W. Gerald Massengill said of the transition, "These changes are important steps in the new direction of the Law Enforcement Division. We believe these actions will further strengthen our position in the law enforcement community and will improve our delivery of law enforcement services."

Previously, the rank structure of the Law Enforcement Division was game warden, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, colonel. The new structure is game warden, senior warden, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, and colonel. In order to accomplish this, traditional sergeants have been slotted in the senior officer role. Former lieutenants have transitioned to the sergeant work title and had their duties enhanced to create a true first line supervisor that is field, not office, oriented. A limited number of staff lieutenants will be established to accomplish the administrative duties at the region level.

The transition creates true field line supervisors with the rank of sergeant, mid-level management with the lieutenant rank, and a career development program for game wardens, with the ranks of game warden, senior warden and corporal. The intention is for game warden work titles to be consistent with the duties and responsibilities in standard law enforcement models.

Colonel Massengill emphasized that the changes in work titles are in no way intended to reflect negatively on any person or position but are merely a transition to the appropriate traditional titles. "The changes clarify work titles and roles. None of the wardens affected by the changes will have their pay cut. On the contrary, some will have pay increases to bring their compensation into alignment with their responsibilities."

The need to make changes became apparent when an audit report identified issues with the supervisory structure and ratio of supervisors to subordinates within VDGIF's Law Enforcement Division. In addition, the previous structure caused some confusion when relating to other law enforcement agencies with standard rank structures.