At an event announcing the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) new K-9 Program, Gov. Jim Justice made a surprise announcement of a $6,000 pay raise for all WVDNR Police officers.

The wage increase will take effect immediately and will apply to all active WVDNR Police officers and new hires going forward. It will be paid for through an already-funded special revenue account.

“Our WVDNR Police officers do an incredible job every day protecting our state’s natural resources and keeping our state parks and forests, wildlife management areas, lakes, rivers and streams safe for folks to enjoy,” said Gov. Justice. “They deserve to be compensated for the hard work and dedication they put in day in and day out and I am proud to announce this pay raise, which I believe will help us attract and retain the best and brightest to this important role.”

WVDNR Police officers are responsible for enforcing the state’s game and fish laws and rules 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.

“We are grateful to Gov. Justice for his commitment to our WVDNR Police officers and all the ways he recognizes and supports the important work they do,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “This pay raise is long overdue and will help us attract and retain the highly qualified officers we need to protect our state’s natural resources and to keep our citizens safe.”

The WVDNR Police, which is the state’s oldest law enforcement agency, celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2022. 

“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. “We’re thankful for all the ways Gov. Justice supports our agency and the outpouring of support this year for the 126 dedicated men and women who make up the WVDNR Police. They are widely recognized, highly trained and well respected within the ranks of our nation’s fish and game protectors. This raise will go a long way in recognizing them for all the long hours and sacrifices they make for our state.”