South Carolina DNR honors 2011 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year
Pfc. Cary T. Robinson of Conway was awarded the title of statewide S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife officer of the year for 2011 during ceremonies held Sept. 16 in Columbia. Five other officers were also honored for their dedication in protecting the state's natural resources through enforcement, education, special investigations, intelligence and records and staff operations.
Among Pfc. Robinson's many accomplishments over the last year include: conducted 1,169 boat inspections; 242 boat patrol hours; 342 night patrol hours and 21 BUI (Boating Under the Influence) screenings. Pfc. Robinson also assisted other officers on 125 cases over the past year. His relationship with the people of Horry County has allowed the public to feel comfortable contacting him on a wide range of information from illegally feeding alligators to saltwater fishing violations.
The annual officer of the year awards and banquet are dedicated to the late Chief R.M. "Bobby" Gifford, highly regarded chief of natural resources law enforcement for many years. The S.C. Wildlife Officers' Association, the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, the family of Chief Gifford and DNR together honored the state's top officers. DNR Law Enforcement Col. Alvin Taylor praised the officers for their outstanding work and dedication as he presented the awards.
The following were selected as outstanding DNR officers for 2011 from each of the state's four Natural Resources Enforcement Regions and Marine Law Enforcement Investigations and Education and Staff Operations. The statewide honor of Officer of the Year was chosen from these candidates:
- Region 1 (Anderson, Abbeville, McCormick, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, Union, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg counties): Cpl. Henry Barnett
- Region 2 (York, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Kershaw, Chesterfield, Lee, Darlington, Marlboro, Dillon, Florence, Marion and Williamsburg counties): Pfc. William Brady Branham
- Region 3 (Newberry, Saluda, Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Lexington, Richland, Sumter, Calhoun, Orangeburg and Clarendon counties): Sgt. Jeffrey D. Derrick
- Region 4 (Horry, Georgetown, Berkeley, Hampton, Charleston, Beaufort, Colleton, Dorchester and Jasper counties): Pfc. Cary T. Robinson
- Law Enforcement Education: Sgt. Karen D. Swink
- NASBLA: Sgt. Ken Simmons
DNR Officers of the Year, including the statewide title, were selected by a committee of key DNR law enforcement personnel and captains and rated in six categories: employment history; enforcement activities and specialties; awards, achievements and accomplishments; leadership, teamwork and attitude; family and community involvement; and outstanding cases.
Top men and women from across the state are chosen as DNR Officers of the Year because of their exceptional abilities in natural resources enforcement. Before assuming their duties, new officers must complete an eight-week course at the Criminal Justice Academy plus an additional five weeks of intensive DNR field training.
South Carolina's Natural Resources Law Enforcement officers serve and protect the state's natural resources by patrolling more than 31,000 square miles of the state's lands and inland waters. Officers also patrol 750 miles of tidal shoreline and marine waters, to the state's territorial boundary three miles offshore and beyond on special federal assignments.
Throughout the state's 46 counties, DNR officers enforce laws and regulations pertaining to more than 450,000 registered boats, and a half-million licensed hunters and anglers and the multi-million dollar coastal fishing industry. Officers enforce Wildlife Management Area regulations and statewide litter laws, instruct hunter and boating education, conduct statewide search and rescue operations and perform community service.