Coordination and Cooperation

446 FW 1
FWM Number
444 FW 5, FWM 305, 12/31/96
Originating Office
Division of Technical and Field Support

1.1 Purpose. This chapter outlines provisions for coordination and cooperation with other law enforcement organizations concerning wildlife protection through law enforcement initiatives.

1.2 Policy. Service Law Enforcement Officers are expected to work in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies who provide assistance in the enforcement of wildlife regulations.

1.3 Interagency Coordination.

A. Prosecutors and Judiciary. In accordance with detailed instructions provided in other chapters of the Service Manual, Assistant Regional Directors for Law Enforcement (ARD/LE) and Special Agents In Charge (SAC) are responsible for liaison with Federal and State prosecuting officials and court systems in their respective areas of responsibility.  Local level liaison may be delegated to Senior Resident Agents, specific Special Agents or other law enforcement officers depending on local conditions and need; however, overall responsibility remains with the ARD/LE or SAC.

B. National and International Level.

(1) The Chief, Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for national level liaison and contact with the Departmental Law Enforcement Official and all foreign and Federal law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies on all matters relating to law enforcement.  On national matters pertaining to Service lands under the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Fish Hatchery System or other facilities, the Chief LE, will consult with the appropriate division chief.

(2) Local liaison is allowed with cooperating foreign agencies adjacent to the international border of the United States relating to matters of mutual concern and assistance. This coordination and cooperation with local foreign law enforcement officials and agencies must be in accordance with treaties, conventions, or other agreements signed between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and will be conducted in a circumspect manner to avoid any allegation of violation of the sovereignty of the foreign country.

C. State and Local Level. The Assistant Regional Directors (LE), Deputy Assistant Regional Directors (LE), and the Senior Resident Agents are concurrently responsible for liaison with local, State, and Federal agencies on matters relating to law enforcement.  Senior Resident Agents are responsible for obtaining coordination and cooperation with non-Service law enforcement officials at the field station level. Special Agents and refuge and/or hatchery law enforcement personnel are encouraged to develop close and harmonious working relationships with each other and with those local and State law enforcement officers.

1.4 Individual Cooperation.

A. Special Agents. Special Agents are expected to make every effort to cooperate with and assist officials of State Game and Fish Agencies and law enforcement officials of other Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies located in their geographic area of responsibility.

B. Guidelines.

(1) Courtesy calls are authorized and encouraged where other reasons do not necessitate contact with cooperating officials.

(2) When a case has been referred to LE by local enforcement officials, advise that agency by letter of final prosecutive action taken in Federal court or of other final disposition of the case.

(3) When a State or Federal law enforcement official has expressed an interest in the prosecutive status of a Service case, for a legitimate reason, the Special Agents should ensure that such official is kept appropriately advised, including the final outcome of the matter.

(4) When an individual or agency exerts exceptional effort to assist LE, a letter should be sent to the appropriate supervisor, or other appropriate steps should be taken to express appreciation.

(5) Remember that cooperating officers have policies and procedures of their own particular organization to follow.

(6) Special Agents are not authorized to become involved with State or other non-Service personnel on administrative matters unless participation is expressly requested and approval granted by the Regional Director.  

1.5 Memoranda of Understanding. MOUs are established with other agencies and organizations to facilitate mutual working relationships. Exhibit 1 lists those executed at the national level or having widespread or extraterritorial effect.

Attachments (Exhibits, Amendments, etc)