Maine Marine Patrol Officer Michael Pinkham has received the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Award, which honors a law enforcement official for professional excellence. The award was presented April 8, at the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, an annual event that brings together regional natural resources professionals in many fields, including law enforcement.
“During my career a couple of people truly stand out as motivated conservation officers, and Mike is one of them,” said Marine Patrol Sergeant Troy Dow, who nominated Officer Pinkham. “After 30-plus years, he still has the drive and self-motivation to apprehend intentional marine resource violators. In fact, this past year MPO Pinkham led our department in violators being brought to justice.”
“Officer Pinkham represents the best our law enforcement agencies have to offer,” said Gov. Paul R. LePage. “His longtime dedication to protecting our state’s valuable marine resources, while working to support those making an honest living from them, is part of the Maine tradition. Officer Pinkham is deserving of this honor and is a credit to the men and women wearing the Marine Patrol uniform.”
Pinkham was lauded by Sergeant Dow for his understanding of the job, the marine resources, the people who make a living from them and for committing to professional development. “During his 34-year career, he has witnessed many changes within the DMR world. One of the biggest changes has been the introduction of the onboard computers and almost all documentation becoming electronic. Throughout these changes, Mike has adapted very well,” Sgt. Dow said.
The rotating closed areas during this past scallop season presented a particular enforcement challenge for Pinkham, who is based in Gouldsboro.
“Mike worked these closed areas relentlessly,” said Dow. “He spent many cold, dark nights watching over these closed areas. His persistence paid off when he and other officers caught a boat dragging in the closed area.”
Pinkham was also applauded for working around the clock during last year’s elver season, when skyrocketing prices created a motivation for increased poaching. “He worked the elver harvesting season both night and day for over 2 months,” Dow said. “His dedication to protecting the elver fishery no doubt saved many elvers that would have been taken by poachers.”
“Officer Pinkham, with 34 years on the job, continues to show the enthusiasm of a first-year officer,” stated Commissioner Keliher. “I had the honor of working directly with him this spring on two overnight patrols. His professionalism, understanding of all fisheries and the respect he holds among his fellow officers and within the communities he patrols is why he is so deserving of this award.”
This is the second time Officer Pinkham has received the award and the only time an individual has received the honor twice.
The Maine Marine Patrol enforces Maine’s marine resources laws for commercial and recreational activity. Officers are involved in investigative and protective services work, including the enforcement of marine resource conservation law, rules and regulations. Officers patrol an assigned coastal area by land and air and aboard patrol vessels, protecting marine resources, coastal property and the public.
The Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association is a professional organization comprised of the chiefs and senior command staff from the 13 northeastern states, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA Officer for Law Enforcement and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.