Welcome to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge webpage for the Office of Refuge Law Enforcement (ORLE). We want you to see who we are, what we do, and how we are helping to protect the Florida Everglades habitat for future generations.
We are Federal Law Enforcement Officers of the
United States Department of the Interior,
United States Fish & Wildlife Service.
The first real law enforcement agency in the newly formed United States was the Army. In the days before police forces, the Army was used to enforce federal law (for example, the Whiskey rebellion). The Army’s availability for law enforcement action was there the moment the federal government was formed. It is one of the few governmental bodies explicitly authorized by the Constitution and did not require additional legislation to be put into effect.
The United States Marshalls Service is considered the first federal law enforcement agency. Prior to the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, there was not a federal government. While some precursors may have had enforcement powers, under the Articles of Confederation, there was no federal power and all inter-state authorities had to act with the permission of each State.
The United States Marshalls Service was formed by the Judiciary Act of Sept. 24, 1789. The act specifically determined that law enforcement was to be the U.S. Marshals' primary function, and it appropriately defined marshals as law enforcement officers.
President George Washington commented that "Impressed with a conviction that the due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good Government, I have considered the . . . Judicial department as essential to the happiness of our Country, and to the stability of its political system."
The oldest law enforcement agency in the U.S. Department of Interior is the United States Park Police. The history of the United States Park Police predates both the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. U.S. Park Police Officers were originally designated as Park Watchmen in 1791 by President George Washington. The United States Park Police have been on duty in our Federal parks for more than 200 years.
When Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 as the nations first protected area, the area came under serious threat from those who would exploit, rather than protect, its resources. Poachers killed animals. Souvenir hunters broke large pieces off the geysers and hot springs. Developers set up camps for tourists, along with bath and laundry facilities at hot springs. Civilian superintendents were hired to preserve and protect this land from 1872 through 1886. These early administrators, however, lacked experience, funds and manpower, and were often corrupt. Yellowstone National Park turned to the U.S. Army for help. Invoking the Sundry Civil Act of 1883, the Secretary of the Interior called upon the Secretary of War for assistance in protecting the park. General Philip Sheridan, a supporter of protection of the park, ordered the U.S. Cavalry to Yellowstone National Park in 1886 and relieved the departing superintendent of his command. Captain Moses Harris and men from Company M, First United States Cavalry, Fort Custer, Montana Territory began what would be more than 30 years of military presence in Yellowstone until the National Park Service was formed in 1916.
In 1880, the second superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park, hired Harry Yount to control poaching and vandalism in the park. Yount spent one winter alone in a cabin. He was isolated in a vast wilderness, with deep snow, howling wind, and driving cold. His primary companions were the herds of animals he was to protect and the poachers he was single-handedly charged to control. It was a difficult job for one person and Yount resigned the following fall. In his letter of resignation he wrote:
"I do not think that any one man appointed by the honorable Secretary, and specifically designated as a gamekeeper, is what is needed . . . but a small and reliable police force of men, employed when needed . . . is what is really the most practicable way of seeing that the game is protected from wanton slaughter, the forests from careless use of fire, and the enforcement of all the other laws, rules, and regulations for the protection and improvement of the park."
He urged the formation of a Ranger Force. So Harry Yount is credited with being the father of the Ranger Service, as well as the first national park ranger.
At the turn of the century, illegal commercial hunting and poaching threatened many game species and wild birds in the United States. The inability of State laws to address poaching and the illegal transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines, Iowa Congressman John Lacey introduced legislation to enact a law that would address poaching and “wildlife laundering”. Relying on the Commerce Clause in the United States Constitution, Congressman Lacey’s law sought to prevent the interstate transportation of illegally taken wildlife.
The Lacey Act was challenged many times and upheld by Federal Courts. The Lacey Act was amended several times and also makes it illegal to transport, sell, import, export or attempt to, any wildlife or plant taken in violation of Federal, Tribal, Territorial and International Laws. Enforcement of this Act became the responsibility of the Division of Biological Survey, U. S. Department of Agriculture, the precursor to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.
Also at the turn of the century, the mass killing of egrets and herons and other plume birds to adorn women’s hats was a serious concern among conservationists. More than 5 million birds were being killed annually for the millinery trade.
So, in 1901, at the urging of the American Ornithologists Union, the Florida legislature enacted a bird protection law outlawing the killing of plume birds, while still allowing the hunting of game birds. The new law allowed for “a fine of five dollars or imprisonment of ten days, or both”.
Guy M. Bradley, from Lantana, Florida, made a small contribution to those 5 million birds, at one time a plume hunter himself. Bradley came from a family of law enforcement officers who patrolled the streets of Chicago and longed to follow the family tradition.
He was commissioned on May 15, 1902 as one of the first wardens to enforce wildlife protection laws. He was appointed a Game Warden and deputy Sheriff for Monroe County, Florida with a salary of thirty-five dollars a month. His beat would be in the lawless Everglades and those caught in the act of violating the new law would not go quietly.
Warden Guy Bradley
On July 8, 1905, at the age of 35, Guy Bradley was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was attempting to arrest a well-known plume hunter for killing egrets on Cape Sable. Warden Bradley was the first wildlife law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty.
Warden Guy M. Bradley was a testament to the value of wildlife law enforcement
Today, Bradley is regarded as an Everglades hero. In 1988, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation established a national award, The Guy Bradley Award, to recognize achievements in wildlife law enforcement.
Federal Wildlife Law Enforcement within the United States Fish & Wildlife Service began with the enactment of the Lacey Act and in 1903 when President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt established the nation’s first Bird Preserve along the Indian River in Florida to protect Pelicans. This tiny island later became Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, and on April 1, 1903, Paul Kroegel was commissioned to be Warden of the Island and paid a dollar a month by the Federal Government and $7 a month by the Audubon societies to protect the birds, becoming the first Federal Wildlife Warden.
Paul Kroegel - first Federal Wildlife Warden
One of Warden Kroegel's first official duties was to erect a large sign on the small island stating "U.S. Reservation--Keep Off“, which he later had to remove because it scared away the birds.
Today, there are 400 Federal Wildlife Officers and 250 Special Agents within the Fish & Wildlife Service, a Bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The United States Department of the Interior employs the third largest Federal law enforcement force – over 4000 field law enforcement officers and investigators in the Department itself and within the Departments Bureaus, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Reclamation.
Officers spend 18 - 20 weeks at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia.
FLETC, also known as the “Center of Excellence”, is the primary training center for Federal Officers from various agencies such as the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, United States Marshals Service, ATF, U.S. Border Patrol and Customs agents, and numerous others. Prior to beginning their career at a National Wildlife Refuge they must successfully complete a rigorous training program at FLETC. The curriculum includes a wide range of classroom and tactical training, which covers federal law, investigations, defensive tactics, firearms, pursuit driving, search and rescue, and first aid. This training academy is the equivalent of a 2-year community college program. Upon graduation Federal Officers are authorized to carry firearms, conduct investigations, make arrests and serve warrants pursuant to law and policy. Following graduation, each new Officer reports for advanced field training, and works alongside seasoned Wildlife Officers at different field stations across the United States.
Federal Wildlife Officers training in firearms and defensive tactics
From the earliest days of the National Wildlife Refuge System at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Federal Wildlife Officers have ensured that wildlife, plants, and other natural resources on our National Wildlife Refuges and surrounding areas are protected for the benefit of present and future generations of all people. Federal Wildlife Officers receive extensive training in both standard police operations and the highly specialized field of wildlife law enforcement. Federal Wildlife Officers work closely with the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement Special Agents, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to enforce Federal laws such as the Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Refuge Administration Act, Refuge Recreation Act, Airborne Hunting Act and other Federal and state wildlife protections laws and regulations. as well as all Federal crimes committed in their presence.
So whether responding to a crime in progress, searching for a lost child, rendering CPR to a heart attack victim, or simply giving directions to visitors, rest assured that the Law Enforcement Officers assigned to Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are well qualified and equipped to serve and protect you, as well as the national resources entrusted to their care.
Officers begin a patrol by airboat at dusk.
Federal Wildlife Officers at Arthur R. Marshall and Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuges patrol on foot, ATV, and four-wheeled drive vehicles along 57 miles of levee, four recreation areas, and in Everglades, cypress swamp, beach, mangrove, coastal dune, and sand pine scrub habitats. Federal Wildlife Officers patrolled refuge waterways, state waterways and coastal waters by go-fast boats, flats boats, and airboats. Federal Wildlife Officers also patrolled by airboats and other motorboats along 57 miles of canal and 143,000 acres of Everglades habitats at the refuge, as well as areas adjacent to the refuge and along coastal lands and waters in Broward, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties, while conducting Manatee Speed Zone enforcement, monitoring sea turtle activities for poaching, enforcing Migratory Bird Act violations, and assisting other agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement , Customs and Border Protection and state and local departments.
Photos of the different types of cases and investigations conducted by Federal Wildlife Officers.
Illegal Hunting of Migratory Birds and Checking Hunters
Illegal Drugs , Money and Weapons Seized by Officers
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Officers were among the first search and rescue teams on the ground after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Subject arrested for Boating While Intoxicated
Conducting Search and Rescues
If you want to see the type of cases Law Enforcement investigate, click on the following links to see our annual reports. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access these files.
|FY 2007 Annual Report||FY 2008 Annual Report|
|FY 2006 Annual Report||FY2009 Annual Report|
|FY 2005 Annual Report||FY2010 Annual Report|
|FY2004 Annual Report||
FY2011 Annual Report
Did You Know……
Officers routinely work alone in rural and remote areas with little or no back-up, under adverse terrain and weather conditions and confront subjects who are almost always armed.
What do you think is The Most Dangerous Government Job. Think of all the dangerous beats assigned to federal law enforcement officers: tracking illegal arms sales, intercepting drug smugglers, guarding the nation's borders against foreign terrorists, apprehending kidnappers and fugitives, protecting the lives of potential assassination targets.
Now, guess which branch of federal law enforcement is the most dangerous, in terms of the rate at which its employees are assaulted or killed while on duty. Drug Enforcement Administration? FBI? Customs Service? U.S. Border Patrol? U.S. Secret Service?
The most dangerous federal law-enforcement job in the United States is Ranger for the National Park Service, according to the Fraternal Order of Police, which cited Department of Justice 2001 statistics in a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton asking for an FBI inquiry into the matter. Signed by Randall Kendrick, executive director of the group's U.S. Park Ranger Lodge, the letter says the rate at which park rangers are injured or killed while on duty is triple that of the Customs Service, the next worst agency.
The report also asserted that bombings, shootings, beatings and arson directed at employees and facilities of the Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management rose dramatically last year. National forest incidents rose 136 percent, from 33 in 2000 to 78 last year. Incidents at wildlife refuges rose 22 percent. Those involving BLM employees increased only 4 percent, but they were far more likely to be violent in 2001 than the year before.
Remembering Those That Paid The Ultimate Sacrifice
"It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived."
—Vivian Eney Cross, Survivor
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Every year tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
A Memorial Service began in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement.
Decades later, this event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to the Nation's Capital each year.
Dedicated on October 15, 1991, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, in Washington DC, honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation and its people. Carved on these walls are the names of more than 19,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known death in 1791
Each year the U.S. Department of the Interior celebrates National Police Week. The Department’s honor roll of fallen officers from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, United States Park police, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation remember those Law Enforcement Officers that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the nations fish and wildlife, public lands and resources, and visitors to those lands, and sometimes the Nation itself.
"In valor there is hope."
For current Hunting and Fishing Regulations and for more information on hunting and fishing at Arthur R. Marshall and Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuges go to Management
The Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory conducts scientific analyses that support federal, state, and international investigations of wildlife crime. The Office of Law Enforcement also maintains a National Wildlife Property Repository , which supplies abandoned and forfeited wildlife items to schools, universities, museums, and non-government organizations for public education, and operates the National Eagle Repository , which meets the needs of Native Americans for eagles and eagle feathers for religious use.
What's Happening Now
As of February 22, 2010, federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and all other National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks.
It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this Refuge. Please visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services for Florida firearms regulations.
Federal law prohibits firearms in Federal facilities (such as the Refuge Visitor Center); those places are marked with signs at all public entrances.
While the Fish and Wildlife Service strives to make the information on this Web site as timely and accurate as possible, the Service makes no claims about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this site. or its links to other Internet resources.
The information appearing on this Web site is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice to anyone. Please consult with your own legal advisor before taking any action based on information appearing on this site or any site to which it may be linked.