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470 FW 4
Honor Guard

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Date:  August 15, 2014

Series: Refuge Law Enforcement

Part 470: Refuge Law Enforcement Organization and Function

Originating Office: Division of Refuge Law Enforcement

 

 

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4.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter establishes policy for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honor Guard.

 

4.2 What is the Honor Guard?  The Service Honor Guard (Honor Guard) is a team of National Wildlife Refuge System Uniformed Law Enforcement Officers who represent the Department of the Interior and the Service at ceremonial events. Their primary duty is to render final honors for fallen comrades.

 

4.3 What is the authority for this chapter? Departmental Manual Part 446, Law Enforcement, is the authority for this chapter.

 

4.4 What is the Service’s policy on the Honor Guard?

 

A. Our policy is to ensure we have a well-trained Honor Guard to serve as our official ceremonial unit to render final honors to deceased Service personnel. With the Director’s approval, the Honor Guard may also represent the Service at other functions. The Service Honor Guard is the only team that may represent the Service as a ceremonial unit.

 

B. Employees chosen and trained for the Honor Guard must follow the standards and procedures in the Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook

 

4.5 How are Honor Guard officers chosen and how long do they serve?

           

A. The Chief, Division of Refuge Law Enforcement (DRLE) asks the Regional Refuge Law Enforcement (LE) Chiefs to nominate officers from their Regions whenever a new Honor Guard officer is needed. The Service maintains a minimum of 24 active duty Honor Guard officers at all times.

 

B. The Chief, DRLE, in coordination with the Commander of the Honor Guard and the Deputy Chief, DRLE, selects Honor Guard officers.

 

C. Honor Guard officers and their supervisor must make a minimum commitment of 3 years of service. The Honor Guard officer must also complete required training (see section 4.8).

 

D. After completing 3 years of service, the officer may continue to serve or leave in good standing. If an officer leaves in good standing, he/she may keep the Honor Guard badge and uniform. We consider these officers to be inactive members, and we may call upon them to serve if necessary and pending supervisory approval.

 

4.6 What is the Honor Guard’s chain of command and what are their responsibilities? See

Table 4-1.

 

Table 4-1: Responsibilities for the Honor Guard program

These employees….

Are responsible for…

A. Director

 

Ensuring we have a well-trained Honor Guard in place.

 

 

B. The Chief, DRLE

(1) Overseeing the Honor Guard;

 

(2) Appointing (in coordination with the Deputy Chief, DRLE) an Honor Guard Commander and Deputy Commander from the ranks of the Guard;

 

(3) Coordinating with the Commander and the Deputy Chief, DRLE to:

 

(a) Select new Honor Guard officers, and

 

(b) Develop, approve, and maintain standard operating procedures (SOPs);

 

(4) Determining the events and types of response the Honor Guard will provide; and

 

(5) Notifying the Commander when services are needed.

C. The Deputy Chief, DRLE

(1) Providing administrative and coordination support for the Honor Guard,

 

(2) Serving as the central point of contact for the Honor Guard,

 

(3) Ensuring officers are properly trained,

 

(4) Overseeing the Honor Guard’s budget, and

 

(5) Working with the Chief, DRLE and the Commander to develop and maintain SOPs.

D. The Honor Guard Commander and Deputy Commander

(1) Serving as members of the Honor Guard while working closely with the Chief, DRLE and the Deputy Chief, DRLE to ensure:

 

(a) Training, equipment, and supplies are adequate, and

 

(b) Officers are properly trained and prepared for service;

 

(2) Assigning an Officer-in-Charge from the ranks of the Guard for each assignment and working with that officer to ensure adequate resources are available to accomplish the mission;

 

(3) Assigning a Logistics Officer from the ranks of the Honor Guard;

 

(4) Serving as the point of contact for Honor Guard officers to help to resolve technical issues related to SOPs and training; and

 

(5) Designating and notifying Honor Guard Officers for specific ceremonial events.

E. Officer-in-Charge of an Event

(1) Coordinating Honor Guard attendance and activities for specific events;

 

(2) Working with the Deputy Chief, DRLE, the Commander, and the Logistics Officer to establish the details of a ceremony and to ensure appropriate resources (personnel, ceremonial props, etc.) are planned and available;

 

(3) Meeting with event organizers as necessary;

 

(4) Ensuring Guard officers have adequate rehearsal and organizing rehearsal times and locations before the event;

 

(5) Leading officers during the viewing, service (funeral, memorial, or gravesite), or other function and ensuring officers follow SOPs;

 

(6) Ensuring the Honor Guard fulfills commitments they were assigned for an event;

 

(7) Serving as a liaison to other agencies when the Honor Guard is working with honor guards from other organizations at an event;

 

(8) Coordinating with Service personnel who work with the family members of the deceased according to SOPs and the direction of the Deputy Chief, DRLE; and

 

(9) Delegating, when necessary, their duties to other members of the Honor Guard to ensure successful completion of a particular mission.

F. Logistics Officer

(1) Coordinating purchases, travel arrangements, and acquisitions for the Guard; and

 

(2) Assisting the Commander and Deputy Commander as needed.

 

4.7 When is the Honor Guard deployed and what are the requirements for deployment? Following are the situations in which the Service deploys the Honor Guard and the requirements for each situation;

 

A. Honoring the death of a Service employee in the line of duty:

 

(1) At the request of the family, the Chief, DRLE must deploy the Honor Guard to provide ceremonial honors for deceased Service employees who died in the line of duty. 

 

(2) The Commander will ask other agencies for assistance, as necessary, to perform full honors. 

 

(3) The Guard may perform all honors the family approves.

 

(4) The Commander will refer to the Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook for a list of honors that will be offered.

 

B. Honoring the death of a Service employee not in the line of duty or the death of a retired Service employee:

 

(1) At the request of the family, the Chief, DRLE must deploy the Honor Guard to provide ceremonial honors for an employee whose death did not occur in the line of duty or for a retired employee who has died.

 

(2) The Commander will ask other agencies for assistance, as necessary, to perform honors. 

 

(3) The Guard may perform all honors the family approves.

 

(4) The Commander will refer to the Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook for a list of honors that will be offered.

 

C. Peace Officers’ Memorial Day: May 15th of each year is designated Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.  At the discretion of the Chief, DRLE Honor Guard officers may represent the Service by attending Police Week ceremonies.

           

D. Other ceremonies and events: The Honor Guard must be available to perform in a ceremonial capacity when called upon by the Director.

 

(1) If a Regional office, duty station manager, or other organization wishes to request the Honor Guard at an event, they must contact the Chief, DRLE or call the Serious Incident Reporting number (1- 888-519-3606).

 

(2) The Chief, DRLE will seek the Director’s approval.

 

(3) After getting the Director’s approval, the Chief, DRLE or his/her designee will advise the Commander and Deputy Commander as soon as possible to begin planning for deployment. 

 

(4) The Honor Guard chain of command (the Deputy Chief, DRLE, Commander and Deputy Commander, Officer-in-Charge, and Logistics Officer) will arrange for appropriate resources needed for the ceremony and coordinate directly with event organizers to fulfill the mission.

 

4.8 What are the training requirements for Honor Guard officers?

 

A. Basic training: Because of the complexity of the work and the need for the highest level of performance, Honor Guard officers must attend basic training before beginning to serve. Honor Guard officers must complete a minimum of 80 hours of formal honor guard training. This training will be conducted by Service Honor Guard Training Officers. Additional training may be obtained through other law enforcement agencies, such as the United States Border Patrol or through the United States Military. 

 

B. Bi-annual training: The Honor Guard officers must meet and train for a minimum of 40 hours, twice a year as a team to maintain proficiency in ceremonial deployment. This training may take place at ceremonies or during other events. The Deputy Chief, DRLE must approve bi-annual training. Training requirements are outlined in the Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook.

 

(1) Wearing a training uniform: Whenever Honor Guard officers are in training status or representing the Honor Guard at an informal meeting, they must wear the appropriate training uniform (see the Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook). This is necessary to ensure officers are recognizable as employees of the Service and Honor Guard members. It also ensures a uniform appearance that preserves the dignity of the team.

 

(2) Notifying officials about training: The Commander, Deputy Commander, and Officer-in-Charge must notify necessary officials when training is taking place (e.g., event organizers, local law enforcement, security personnel, etc.). Because officers practice with firearms, this ensures that anyone who may observe the training understands and recognizes the officers as members of the Guard.

 

4.9 Who pays for the Honor Guard officers’ participation at events?

 

A. The National Wildlife Refuge System national office pays for Honor Guards’ participation at required events (see section 4.7A through D). This includes training costs, travel, and equipment.

 

B. If an event is a special request and does not involve the death of an employee or retired employee, the Director may require that the requesting office (Regional office, duty station, etc.) pay for the Honor Guard’s participation.

 

4.10 What are the Honor Guard Activation and Notification Procedures?

 

A. Notification: When an event or ceremony is approved or requested by the Director, or his designee, the Honor Guard Commander, or Deputy Commander, will be the first team member notified of the function. The Commander or Deputy Commander then will notify all Honor Guard team members of the time and date of the function taking place. Notification will be via phone call, text, or e-mail messaging.

 

B. Activation: Upon notification of a function taking place, the Honor Guard Commander or Deputy Commander will determine how many team members will be required to perform the function approved via the notification. The Commander or Deputy Commander will then select the team members that they deem most qualified to perform the tasks needed during the ceremony. The Commander or Deputy Commander will then call the team members that will be activated for the function. All team members will be notified of every function, but only the activated members will participate in the events.

 

4.11 How do Honor Guard officers notify the Service of their availability? Honor Guard officers must advise the Commander about their availability (e.g., informing him/her about annual leave, training, and other details) on an ongoing basis. This is necessary for emergency calls and scheduling purposes. Officers may use email or any other effective method to keep the Commander informed.

                       

4.12 What are the uniform, appearance, fitness and conduct standards for participating in the Honor Guard? Because of the Honor Guard’s unique mission, the Service requires high standards of appearance. Guard officers must appear as “one face,” and grieving family members should not be distracted by an individual officer’s appearance.

 

A. Uniform: The Honor Guard uniform is unique to the Guard. Officers performing ceremonial duty must wear the uniform as described in the Honor Guard Operational Handbook. See section 4.8B (1) for information about the training uniform.

 

B. Appearance: During ceremonial events, Honor Guard officers must meet the appearance standards in the Honor Guard Operational Handbook.

 

C. Fitness: Honor Guard members must demonstrate a minimum physical fitness level annually as indicated in the Honor Guard Operational Handbook.

 

D. Conduct and Performance: Honor Guard members must demonstrate adherence to all conduct laws, rules, regulations, and policies set by the Department of the Interior and the Service. The Chief, DRLE, in consultation with the Commander of the Honor Guard, will review all allegations of misconduct and poor performance on the part of an Honor Guard member on a case-by-case basis and reserves the ability to suspend or remove Honor Guard members based on conduct and performance-related issues or investigations. The suspension or removal of an Honor Guard member is not considered punitive in nature. Membership to the Honor Guard and participation in Honor Guard duties are voluntary in nature and are not a condition of employment.

 

 

For more information about this policy, contact the Division of Refuge Law Enforcement. For more information about this Web site, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.

 

 

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