Maryland Natural Resources Police: Recruitment Updates

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Spring Issue

Maryland Natural Resources Police Welcome New Police Superintendent

Col. Lilly with Honor Guard

Maryland Natural Resources Police Honor Guard members welcome Colonel Orlando Lilly at his swearing in at Tawes Gardens. Viewed from left to right are Officer First Class Emily Lichtenberger, Officer First Class Brian Chillas, Colonel Orlando Lilly, Corporal Amelia Hunt, and Officer First Class Sonia Dohrn.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has named Orlando D. Lilly as the 11th Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. The former Baltimore County Police Major and Navy veteran was sworn in at DNR headquarters in Annapolis. Lilly assumes the rank of Colonel.


“Col. Lilly has gone above and beyond throughout his law enforcement career, building a legacy of dedication and professionalism,” Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz said. “We know that with Col. Lilly at the helm, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will be in good hands. His commitment to equitable policing, community-building, and leadership will ensure Natural Resources Police officers continue to effectively serve Marylanders through fair and equitable enforcement of the state’s natural resource laws.”

“We are very appreciative of Acting Lt. Col. Brian Rathgeb’s service and leadership during the previous months,” added Kurtz. “His guidance was invaluable and we are extremely proud and fortunate to have him as a part of our leadership team.”

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Lilly has 29 years of experience in law enforcement, including serving in several leadership positions with the Baltimore County Police Department. Most recently, Lilly was a major in the Western Patrol Division at the department, where he was assigned to the Operations Bureau. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore and a master’s degree in management from Johns Hopkins University.

Col. Lilly with son

Col. Orlando Lilly is pinned by his son, wearing his Natural Resources Police badge for the first time at his swearing in ceremony. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

A beacon in community policing, Lilly’s actions to strengthen the bond between the police and the citizens they serve has been evident throughout his career. Lilly hosted routine community events during his time with the Baltimore County Police Department, including basketball clinics, community walks, “Coffee with a Cop,” National Night Out, and many other community-building events.

He intends to bring that ethic of service to the community to Natural Resources Police. Growing up in central North Carolina, Lilly developed a passion for the outdoors from his father, who was an avid hunter and fisherman. Working alongside conservation officers in Baltimore County showed him that police work can reach a wide variety of people and communities.

Play - lilly

Lilly worked his way up through the ranks during his tenure at the Baltimore County Police Department. He started his law enforcement career as an entry-level officer in 1994 after his service in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Shreveport (LPD-12). Most recently, Lilly oversaw five of Baltimore County’s 10 precincts.

An Albemarle, North Carolina native, Lilly first gained interest in the Baltimore County Police Department through a North Carolina Central University college class focused on Cornelius “Neil” Behan. Behan served as Baltimore County’s Chief of Police from 1977 to 1994 and was nationally renowned for his work in adapting and implementing community-based policing practices. Lilly and his wife, Angelica, reside in Ellicott City. They have two children.

The Natural Resources Police fields 258 officers supported by a staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, including reserve and retired officers. The agency is responsible for enforcing conservation and boating safety laws, protecting state parks, public lands, and waterways.

One Month Later: Natural Resources Police Played Important Role in Key Bridge Incident Response

Sgt. John Buchanan

Sgt. John Buchanan flies the NRP helicopter, Natural 1, over the Key Bridge collapse site. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kimberly Reaves.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) has been an integral part of the multi-agency response to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge after it was struck by a container ship on March 26.

During the initial response, NRP officers assisted with above- and below-water search and recovery operations, aerial reconnaissance, and safety zone enforcement. Now one month removed from the disaster, NRP officers continue extended patrol of the safety zone, monitor traffic in temporary channels, and assist with transporting political officials and members of joint allied agencies to the scene.

As one of the first responding marine agencies on the scene, NRP officers arrived at the Key Bridge at 2:30 a.m. – shortly after the collapse – and began searching the surface of the Patapsco River for potential survivors. Within hours, NRP officers had eight boats from four surrounding counties at the scene.

“Our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Brian Rathgeb, Acting Deputy Superintendent of the NRP. “The dedicated men and women who responded to the collapse and played a role in rescue and recovery efforts are heroes. Every effort has been made to bring closure to the families and the Natural Resources Police is proud to have assisted with our fellow local, state and federal agencies.”  Read more.

Reserve Officers Honored at Awards Luncheon

Reserve Officer Award

Colonel Lilly and Major Rathgeb regconize the outstanding achievement of NRP’s Reserve Officers at their Awards Luncheon in April. .

In April, we honored the outstanding achievement of NRP’s Reserve Officers at their Awards Luncheon. Our reserve officers are invaluable to our agency, volunteering their personal time to perform public outreach and safety education.

RO - Fishing

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police Reserve Officer Program (MDNRP RO) has been an enacted group for twenty seven years of civic minded volunteers who support the mission of the Natural Resources Police while using their individual talents and skills.  While the Reserve Officers are not sworn law enforcement Officers, and do not have arrest powers, they frequently engage with the public completing a variety of roles. 

RO - Kayak


Each Reserve Officer is given the opportunity to train in programs such as Search and Rescue, Raptor Capture, Traffic and Crowd Control, community awareness and education to include being Maryland Boating Safety Instructors, Maryland Hunting Safety Instructors, and Waterwise and Hug A Tree program instructors. In addition, some of our Reserve Officers choose to take the National Safe Boating Council “Open and Closed Waters” boating courses to become boating operations certified.


RO - Splash

Viewed from left to right are Reserve Officer Coordinator Anna Dahlstrom, Splash the Waterdog, Officer First Class Vernon Owens, and Reserve Officer Mike Kidd.

Our program has provided many of our Reserve Officers with life and educational skills that have aided them in pursuing long term careers with the Natural Resources Police, Maryland State Police, Texas Rangers, and other government, state, and local agencies.  The Maryland Natural Resources Police Reserve Officers are given the opportunity to expand their skills that specifically pertain to the natural resources law enforcement field by completing Search and Rescue training, attending ride-alongs with sworn Officers, completing their hunting and boating trainings, and gaining individual communication skills while working at various public relations events. Many of our Reserve Officers also work in our Maryland State Parks during the summer season and come in contact with thousands of people from various backgrounds, allowing them to hone in on their active listening, problem solving, tolerance, and mediation skills. 

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Officer First Class Vernon Owens joined our Reserve Officers in collecting toys during our Toys for Tots drive in St. Mary's County last year. Our Reserve Officers coordinated 12 Toys for Tots events at various locations across Maryland. Which resulted in the collection of 1300 toys for distribution to children throughout the state.

Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer Vernon Owens is one of the most recent 6 year veteran Reserve Officers that graduated from the Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy and shared “As an Officer, I look back on those years as a Reserve Officer with much appreciation. The Reserve Officer program had a way of tempering my zeal and sobering my excitement. The programs design introduced me to the mindset of servant leadership. As a volunteer the only authority I had was over my own attitude and how I used it to develop myself and serve my agency, my community, and the Officers I was assigned to. Having formed a foundation in such an environment; I still carry with me today a heart of servitude. This has served me well on countless occasions and helped me perform my duty with clarity. Emotional maturity is one of the most valuable attributes a police officer can possess. I couldn’t have adopted this skill and mindset were it not for my time with the RO program.”

Visit our website for more information about our Reserve Officer Program.


Reserve Officer Coordinator

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Police Unit, is currently accepting applications for a vacant Administrative Officer III. The candidate selected for this position will be responsible for coordinating the recruitment, training, ongoing assignments and evaluations of volunteers for the NRP Reserve Officer Program. The incumbent will manage the administrative details associated with the program, prepare reports and work with his/her counterpart responsible for other areas of the State. Candidates may be required to work in all weather conditions, weekends and shifts longer than eight (8) hours.

Salary: $53,627.00 - $89,425.00/year

Location: 3738 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD 21117 (NRP Gwynnbrook Office)

NRP's Reserve Officer Coordinator (Administrative Officer III) position has post to the DBM Website, closing date May 30, 2024. 

Attention Youth Anglers!!!

Fishing Derby

NRP and partner agencies are hosting a law enforcement and youth fishing rodeo on June 22 in Easton. "This event showcases the strong partnerships between Talbot County first responders and the many stakeholders in the area.” - Capt. Matthew Corbin

The Maryland Natural Resources Police Has Changed Its Written Test.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police has aquired a contract with Talogy to conduct written testing for its next hiring. The test Talogy will administer is known as the Law Enforment Aptitude Battery (L.E.A.B.). The L.E.A.B. is already utilized by Pennsylvania State Police, Delaware State Police, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and many other departments across the county.   

Interested applicants can:

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