National Parks in the News: Did You Say that Park Police Officer Mary Jane Hempfield is a Turtle?

If you see a box turtle like this in a national park, leave it alone. It might be Officer Mary Jane Hempfield looking for a marijuana patch. Photo by Jonathan Zander (Digon3) via Wikipedia Commons.

It was an event certain to send chills down the spine of evil doers everywhere. For the first time ever, the United States Park Police used information gathered with the use of a radio transmitter-outfitted turtle to arrest a man growing marijuana in a national park.

On July 14, Ranger Ken Ferebee was in in Rock Creek Park tracking a box turtle outfitted with a radio transmitter. The turtle led Ranger Ferebee to a small marijuana patch.

Surveillance confirmed that the patch was actively tended, and officers were able to identity the individual tending it. An arrest warrant was obtained, and on July 30th, members of the Park Police Narcotics and Vice Unit, the Central District Crime Patrol Unit, and Rock Creek Station arrested the man who was tending the patch.

Charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, the perp now awaits extradition to the District of Columbia.

Park Police have named the turtle Officer Mary Jane Hempfield. It is not known at this time whether Officer Hempfield is in line for a commendation.


It's a shame this information was made public - now these growers will be out looking for box turtles to destroy, in case they're the "informant". I'm sure whatever they're tagged with is obvious, thus ruling out the non-"officers", but still, criminals do tend to have a cruel streak and may be nondiscriminating.
Nice name, though, for your helper!