2020 Southern Region Officer of the Year Award Winner
Corporal John Bunting, of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, has been named the Southern Region Officer of the Year for 2020.
Corporal John Bunting has been employed by the Maryland Natural Resources Police since 2011. Over the course of his career, Cpl. Bunting has always exemplified each of the Agency's core values: courtesy, integrity, dedication and professionalism. He carries himself with pride and humility on and off the job and is well-respected throughout the law enforcement community, judicial system and by the people he serves.
Assigned to the eastern reaches of Maryland, Cpl. Bunting’s patrol sector includes the coastal bays and the Atlantic Ocean within Worcester County. During the recreational boating season, June through September, Cpl. Bunting's devotion to the safety of Maryland’s community is unrivaled. He consistently volunteers to work all weekends and a vast majority of late shifts. It is evident that Cpl. Bunting’s focus is on boating safety and enforcement.
In 2019, Cpl. Bunting responded to 830 calls for service, made contact with 760 recreational vessels, issued 737 safety violations, and completed 46 incident reports. He responded to a total of 12 boating incidents, and assumed the role of lead investigator for seven of them. Throughout the year, Corporal Bunting made a total of 32 custodial arrests - 17 of which were for Boating Under the Influence (BUI).
Not only did Cpl. Bunting lead the state in BUI enforcement, but also dedicated his time to mentoring fellow officers on the subject. Additionally, Cpl. Bunting consistently shares his techniques for report writing, detection and courtroom testimony to help lead to successful BUI prosecutions.
Recognizing the need for saturated boating safety patrols, Cpl. Bunting led the charge for the implementation of the agency's Boat Safe Program. This program consists of the use of boating safety saturation patrols to promote the use of personal flotation device (PFDs) and other safety equipment. The goal of this program is to prioritize education over enforcement to help generate a more positive response in regards to boating safety from the public. Corporal Bunting volunteered to work 60% of all patrols.
On top of all of this, Cpl. Bunting wanted to find a way to improve the agency’s working relationship with local allied partners. So he organized the first multi-agency work session to develop cohesive response plans for the management of water-based rescues. This planning session opened inter-agency communication, facilitated training and ultimately reduced response times for all water-based rescues.
As a lifelong resident of Maryland, Cpl. Bunting’s knowledge of boating safety is second to none. He draws on experiences learned from an early age and extends them to his career in law enforcement. His dedication, integrity, professionalism and courtesy to others are exemplified every day on the job. Many would say that Cpl. Bunting is truly making a difference in the recreational boating community. Congratulations Corporal John Bunting!
First presented in 2000, the Marvin “Butch” Potts Memorial Award, known as the Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, is presented annually to the boating law enforcement officer who has made outstanding contributions to the field of boating law enforcement. The award program consists of three levels: state, regional and national.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. We offer a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards, publications and more. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, we affect the lives of over 76 million American boaters.