DNR Shines a Spotlight on NRP Reserve Officer Volunteers


NRP Reserve Officer James S. Cunningham

Honored with Instructors Award
The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

NRP Reserve Officer Jim Cunningham (left); Cpl. Rick Kaufmann (right)

Reserve Officer Jim Cunningham (left) with the Instructors Award.
Cpl. Rick Kaufmann, Boating and Firearms Instructor, NRP Training
Academy (right) nominated Mr. Cunningham for the award.


Award Nomination for James S. Cunningham

Annual Instructor’s Conference, October 16, 2008

Submitted by Cpl. Rick Kaufmann, Boating and Firearms Instructor, NRP Training Academy


"In my 43 years of State and Federal service, I have never known such selfless devotion to providing exceptional service as a volunteer Police Academy instructor as shown by Mr. Jim Cunningham.  After a career as a naval officer and engineer in Maryland, he now serves as a devoted and talented volunteer Reserve Officer for the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP.)  He is the only non paid volunteer Reserve Officer certified by the NRP Police Academy as a boat instructor.  He is a current U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain.  In 2007 alone, Jim contributed 1000 documented hours to NRP including actual classroom and on the water instruction, assisting regular officers on patrol, and teaching safe boating on Maryland waters. 


He has assisted our NRP Training Academy for every boating class over the last several years including new officer classes, allied agency boat operator training, and during the merger of Maryland Park Service Rangers into the Natural Resources Police.  He has traveled (often at his own expense) to many NRP large boat stations in Maryland to train officers in the new homeland security grant Sea Ark twin engine vessels.  He is a recognized expert on the radar, chart plotter and thermal imaging systems on the Sea Arks and has personally trained dozens of NRP officers in their use. 


He has acted as an Academy instructor under my supervision during tactical boat training of Baltimore, Prince Georges and Anne Arundel County tactical units as well as our own NRP Tactical team.  This included acting as a trainer during high speed security zone exercises, and under way boarding practice. His patience with brand new police officer boaters, as well as his understanding of the needs of more experienced police boat operators, makes Mr. Cunningham an exceptional instructor and an invaluable member of the Academy Boat Instructor team. 


Mr. Cunningham also delivers safe boating talks in Anne Arundel schools.  He conducts courtesy safety examination of boats at Maryland boat ramps.  He is always available to staff the NRP and DNR information booths at boat shows, providing the public information and materials on safe boating, fishing, hunting, and hiking on Maryland waters and parks.  His dedication to all these activities allowed NRP regular officers to increase the time they spend on homeland security and conservation patrol, as well as speed response to emergencies.  Overall, Jim donated 4,000 documented hours as a volunteer instructor and crew member with the Maryland Natural Resources Police over the past 5 years.


In closing, I most enthusiastically recommend Jim Cunningham for this award. Volunteering as a top notch academy instructor is not just an occasional activity for Jim; it has become his life to give back to the State and community a large portion of his time, talent and energy."


Learn more about volunteering as a Reserve Office
with DNR's Natural Resources Police


DNR Volunteer Spotlight Archives