Federal Wildlife Officers of the National Wildlife Refuge System
The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) employs a professional cadre of Federal Wildlife
Officers (FWO) dedicated to natural resource protection and public safety. FWOs contribute
to community policing, environmental education and outreach, protection of native subsistence
rights, as well as other activities supporting the Service’s conservation mission. FWOs
are routinely involved with the greater law enforcement community in cooperative efforts to
combat the nation’s drug problems, addressing border security issues, and other pressing challenges.
Federal Wildlife Officers protect the security and safety of more than 47 million refuge visitors,
Service employees and volunteers, government property, and wildlife populations and habitats. In calendar
year 2011, FWOs documented more than 35,000 law enforcement incidents on wildlife refuges, including
more than 5,600 hunting contacts; 4,200 fishing contacts; 692 endangered species issues; 755 easement violations,
and 59 Archaeological Resource Protection Act cases. FWOs responded to 239 medical situations,
conducted 297 search and rescue missions, and participated in more the 14,500 educational encounters.
Officers of the NWRS support a broad spectrum of Service programs by enforcing conservation laws
established to protect the fish, wildlife, cultural and archaeological resources the Service manages
in trust for the American people. FWOs participate in educating the public about the Service mission,
providing safety and security for the visiting public, and assisting local communities with law
enforcement and natural disaster recovery.
Our Law Enforcement Goals: Our goals are to:
- Enhance the protection and management of fish, wildlife, and other natural and cultural
resources on NWRS lands and conservation easements;
- Obtain compliance from the public with laws and regulations necessary for proper
administration, management, and protection of federally protected fish and wildlife;
- Provide a safe environment for Service employees, volunteers, and visitors; and
- Assist visitors in understanding refuge laws and regulations through effective outreach and positive visitor contacts.