The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that Chestertown police chief and Natural Resources Police veteran G. Adrian Baker will serve as superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Baker will be taking the place of Col. Robert K. “Ken” Ziegler Jr. who resigned Sept. 5, according to a DNR press release. The appointment takes effect Sept. 11.

Baker has nearly two decades of command experience, including the past seven as chief of police in Chestertown. Baker’s experience also includes six years serving as the commander of the Natural Resources Police central region, according to the release.

“Chief Baker has a proven track record — not just in Chestertown and Kent County, but also in his years leading our Natural Resources Police central region, in protecting both our environment and our citizens,” DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said in the release. “I know that he will be a tremendous asset to our team.”

“I am very excited to return to the Maryland Natural Resources Police and continue the important work of preserving and protecting our state’s vital natural resources. In conjunction with Governor Hogan and Secretary Haddaway-Riccio, I will ensure that our unique police agency will prioritize conservation enforcement, outstanding public service, and public safety,” Baker said in the release. “With the professional and leadership skills that I have developed over the last seven years as the chief of a municipal police department, combined with career experience through the ranks of NRP, I look forward to applying and providing clear direction to our management and field officers as we move the Natural Resources Police forward.”

Baker will be stepping into the role vacated by Ziegler, who served as superintendent since March 2016 and was acting superintendent since August 2015.

“We appreciate Colonel Ziegler’s service as a member of the leadership team here at the department,” Riccio said in the release. “He brought valuable experience to the organization and we wish him the best.”

“The men and women of the Natural Resources Police aren’t here by accident — they’ve chosen this field because they’re hunters, anglers, or simply love the outdoors and have dedicated their lives to public safety,” Ziegler said in the release. “... [I]t’s been an honor and privilege to work with them, serving the people of Maryland.”

Lt. Colonel Ernest Leatherbury Jr. will serve as acting superintendent until Baker’s appointment on Sept. 11.

An integral part of the state’s natural resources agency, the Natural Resources Police has 258 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, including reserve and retired officers. They are responsible for enforcing conservation and boating safety laws, protecting state parks, public lands and waterways.