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470 FW 3
Federal Wildlife Officer (FWO) Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment

Date: May 31, 2022

New

Series: Refuge Law Enforcement

Part 470: Refuge Law Enforcement Organization and Function

Originating Office: Division of Refuge Law Enforcement

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                                                                                                TABLE OF CONTENTS

Topics

Sections

Overview

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

3.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

3.3 What is the overall policy?

3.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

Responsibilities

3.5 Who is responsible for implementing and complying with the Federal Wildlife Officer (FWO) uniform, grooming, and personal protective equipment policy?

3.6 What types of uniforms are required for FWOs?

3.7 What uniform items are required?

3.8 What are the standards for wearing the uniform?

3.9 What activities are prohibited while in uniform?

3.10 What are the FWO’s personal protective equipment items?

 

OVERVIEW

 

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

 

A. This chapter:

 

(1) Provides policy on the wearing of uniforms, grooming standards, and personal protective equipment requirements for Federal Wildlife Officers (FWO) in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), and

 

(2) Establishes the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook as official guidance that FWOs must follow to ensure a standardized professional appearance when performing their duties.

 

B. The chapter supplements, but does not replace, 041 FW 4, Service Uniform Policy. Employees should read both chapters.

 

3.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter only applies to the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) FWOs.

 

3.3 What is the overall policy?

 

A. FWOs must wear an approved uniform and personal protective equipment while on duty, unless otherwise authorized by supervisors or the Regional Chief of Law Enforcement, NWRS. This policy ensures that:

 

(1) FWOs in uniform present a standardized professional appearance, are easily identifiable as law enforcement officers, and are immediately distinguishable from other uniformed Service employees; and

 

(2) The Service provides FWOs with the personal protective equipment necessary to perform law enforcement duties.

 

B. Overall appearance in uniform is a key element of how the public perceives FWOs as part of a professional law enforcement organization. FWOs are responsible for maintaining their personal appearance and uniforms to reflect the history, traditions, and values of the Service.

 

C. This policy also authorizes FWOs to wear plain clothes for specific activities during a defined time period.

 

3.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

 

A. Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Personal Protective Equipment (29 CFR 1910.132(a)).

 

B. 446 Department of the Interior (Department) Manual (DM) 11, Passenger Airline Travel by Law Enforcement Officers.

 

C. 446 DM 12, Law Enforcement, Equipment and Vehicles.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

3.5 Who is responsible for implementing and complying with the FWO uniform, grooming, and personal protective equipment policy? See Table 3-1.

 

                                                                                    Table 3-1: Responsibilities for FWO Uniform, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. The Director

Approving or declining to approve Servicewide policy.

B. The Chief – NWRS

(1) Overseeing proper management of all aspects of the NWRS, including the NWRS law enforcement program;

 

(2) Approving new and revised policy concerning NWRS law enforcement uniforms and personal equipment; and

 

(3) Coordinating with Regional Directors and the Chief, Division of Refuge Law Enforcement, on law enforcement matters.

C. The Chief, Division of Refuge Law Enforcement, NWRS

(1) Serving as the law enforcement advisor, senior commissioned law enforcement officer, and program manager for NWRS law enforcement;

 

(2) Developing policy and guidance concerning NWRS law enforcement uniforms and personal protective equipment;

 

(3) Ensuring compliance with this policy;

 

(4) Determining what uniform components and which protective equipment the Service may purchase and issue to FWOs; and

 

(5) Coordinating with the Service’s uniform program lead and ensuring compliance with the Service Uniform Policy (041 FW 4).

D. Service Uniform Coordinator (in the NWRS Division of Visitor Services and Communication)

(1) Coordinating the uniform program Servicewide by serving as the liaison between NWRS and other Service programs, and

 

(2) Serving on the Service Uniform Committee as a non-voting member (see 041 FW 4 for more information about the Service Uniform policy and the coordinator’s responsibilities).

E. Regional Uniform Coordinators (appointed by the Regional Directors)

(1) Serving on the Service Uniform Committee,

 

(2) Advising the Regional Directors on uniform matters,

 

(3) Serving as liaisons between field offices and the Service Uniform Coordinator,

 

(4) Ensuring that employees in the Regions are fully informed about uniform policies and procurement procedures, and

 

(5) Resolving problems related to uniforms that employees encounter (see 041 FW 4 for more information about the Regional coordinator’s responsibilities).

F. Assistant Regional Directors, NWRS

Ensuring FWOs follow Service policy on uniforms and personal protective equipment within their Regions.

G. Regional Chiefs of Law Enforcement, NWRS

Ensuring FWOs follow Service policy on uniforms and personal protective equipment within their Regions.

H. Regional Law Enforcement Specialists

Coordinating the implementation of Service policy through the Patrol Captains and FWOs within their Regions.

I. Patrol Captains

Ensuring FWOs follow Service policy on uniforms and personal protective equipment within their patrol zones.

J. FWOs

Following Service policy and procedures on uniforms and personal protective equipment.

 

DRESS CODE REQUIREMENTS

 

3.6 What types of uniforms are required for FWOs?

 

A. Class A Uniform. The Class A (or Dress) uniform is the standard uniform for ceremonies and public events such as National Law Enforcement Memorial Week, funerals, and award ceremonies. Dress uniforms have summer, winter, and ceremonial options. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for details about dress uniforms.)

 

B. Class B Uniform. The Class B (or Field) uniform is the Service’s standard uniform for use during normal patrol and law enforcement activities. Field uniforms have summer, winter, and Federal Wildlife Canine Officer options. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for more details about field uniforms.)

 

C. Class C Uniforms. The Class C (or Special Duty) uniform is used when the field uniform would hamper operations or for safety reasons when the field uniform is inappropriate for a given operation or duty. The NWRS Regional Chief of Law Enforcement must approve any variations, which may include, but are not limited to, special duty uniforms for training instructors, boating duties, biking duties, mountain patrol, pilot, and aircrew uniforms. The Service Honor Guard uniform is a Class C uniform (for more information, see 470 FW 4 and the Service Honor Guard Operational Handbook).

 

3.7 What uniform items are required? FWOs must wear the complete uniform for a given class as the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook specifies, except as otherwise provided/excepted by their supervisors.

 

3.8 What are the standards for wearing the uniform?

 

A. All FWOs must wear only officially authorized uniform items.

 

B. Class A uniforms must be clean, pressed or steamed, polished where applicable, undamaged, and unfaded. Class B and C uniforms must be serviceable, clean, and unwrinkled at the beginning of each shift.

 

(1) Should a uniform item become excessively soiled or damaged, the FWO should replace it with a serviceable item as soon as possible.

 

(2) Uniforms should not be excessively baggy or tight and must be free of worn areas, holes, or other indicators of excessive wear. Personnel may alter the fit of the Service uniform so that it fits appropriately.

 

(3) FWO personnel in leadership positions must promote and ensure high standards of uniform appearance. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for detailed uniform appearance standards.)

 

C. FWOs must always carry their official credentials while on duty, except during activities where there is a risk of loss or damage.

 

D. FWOs must wear badges and nameplates on the outermost uniform garment so they are visible to the public, when practical. FWOs must not attach a secondary badge to their duty belt while in a Class A or B uniform. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for type and placement.)

 

E. FWOs must wear rank insignia on Class A and B uniforms. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for specifications, type, and placement.)

 

F. Grooming standards are based on several elements, including neatness, cleanliness, safety, image, and appearance. FWOs must maintain proper decorum and present themselves with pride. Personal appearance should be as neat and presentable as conditions and job duties permit. FWOs may request special grooming accommodations for medical or religious reasons in writing through their supervisor. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for grooming standards.)

 

3.9 What activities are prohibited while in uniform? FWOs must not conduct the following activities while in uniform:

 

A. Purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages;

 

B. Gambling in any form;

 

C. Participating in or attending any demonstration or public event in a private capacity because the public could construe wearing the uniform as agency support for a particular issue, position, or political party; and

 

D. Any other activity, by its appearance alone, that would bring discredit upon the Service.

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

 

3.10 What are the FWO’s personal protective equipment items? FWOs must carry appropriate personal protective equipment while engaged in law enforcement activities. (See the Federal Wildlife Officer Dress Code, Grooming, and Personal Protective Equipment Handbook for personal protective equipment standards.). These items include, but are not limited to:

 

A. Body armor;

 

B. One primary Service-issued firearm;

 

C. Two ammunition magazines (in addition to the magazine in the firearm);

 

D. A Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW, formerly referred to as Electronic Control Device, see 442 FW 7), which may be carried on the outer carrier;

 

E. A set of handcuffs on their duty belt; and

 

F. One additional approved intermediate weapon.

 

For more information about this policy, contact the Division of Refuge Law Enforcement. For more information about this website, contact Krista Bibb in the Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB), Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics.

 

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