Conservation Officer, Environmental Police Officer, Natural Resources Officer, Game Warden, Marine Patrol Officer, Special Agent, many titles with one purpose, to protect, preserve and conserve our environment and natural resources. A career in conservation or environmental law enforcement is not a typical police career. Each state and agency has its own unique requirements and missions. In some states, the law enforcement duties cover a wide spectrum from fish & game to boating; criminal law enforcement; search & rescue; pollution and hazardous waste violations; commercial fisheries and shellfishing. Other states concentrate specifically on fish & game enforcement. Officers stalk illegal hunters through the woods on a crisp autumn mornings. Or they may be assigned to a patrol boat on a large lake, river or the open ocean enforcing boating and fishing laws. They are assigned to investigate pollution violations that pose a threat not only to the environment but also to public health. They are assigned to patrol on snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles or personal watercraft. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Homeland Security has become an additional mission for conservation law enforcement. The job of a conservation law enforcement officer can be more dangerous than that of a police officer. Conservation law enforcement officers routinely deal with armed individuals. They are exposed to hazards related to weather, wildlife, and the environment in which they work in addition to the risks faced by every police officer. No matter what the assignment, it is a unique and exciting job. In all of the agencies, the hours are long and the duties complex, but the rewards of knowing that they are protecting our nation’s wildlife, environment and other natural resources for future generations makes it a worthwhile endeavor for the officers.
The Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association is a professional organization comprised of the Chiefs and senior command staff from the thirteen northeastern states, US Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA Officer for Law Enforcement and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.