Title: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo - Description: Fish and Wildlife Service logo

470 FW 4
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honor Guard

Date: November 22, 2019

(Supersedes 470 FW 4, 8/15/14)

Series: Refuge Law Enforcement

Part 470: Refuge Law Enforcement Organization and  Function

Originating Office: Division of Refuge Law Enforcement

PDF Version

 

                                                                                                            TABLE OF CONTENTS

Topics

Sections

Overview

4.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

4.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

4.3 What is the authority for this chapter?

4.4 What is the Service Honor Guard (SHG)?

4.5 What is the overall policy?

4.6 What is the SHG’s chain of command and what are their responsibilities?

Choosing Members and Types of Deployment

4.7 How are SHG members chosen, and how long do they serve?

4.8 What are the situations where the Service may deploy the SHG, and what are the requirements for deployment?

Training and Standards

4.9 What are the training requirements for SHG members?

4.10 What are the uniform, appearance, fitness, and conduct standards for participating in the SHG?

Logistics

and Notifications

4.11 Who pays for the SHG members’ participation at events?

4.12 What are the SHG notification and activation procedures?

4.13 How do SHG members notify the Service of their availability?

 

OVERVIEW

 

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

 

4.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter concerns those Service employees interested in, chosen, and trained for the SHG.

 

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

 

4.4 What is the Service Honor Guard (SHG)? The SHG is a team of National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) uniformed Law Enforcement (LE) officers and NWRS full-time firefighters who represent the Department of the Interior (Department) and the Service at ceremonial events. Their primary duty is to render final honors for fallen comrades.

 

4.5 What is the overall policy?

 

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

 

B. The SHG is the only team that may represent the Service as a ceremonial unit.

 

C. Employees chosen and trained for the SHG must follow the standards and procedures in this chapter and the Service Honor Guard Operational Handbook. 

 

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

Table 4-1.

Table 4-1: Responsibilities for the SHG program

These employees….

Are responsible for…

A. Director

 

(1) Ensuring we have a well-trained SHG in place, and

 

(2) Approving deployment of the SHG for events other than the death of a Service LE officer (e.g., death of a retired LE officer, a ceremonial event organized in remembrance of a tragic incident).

B. The Chief, Division of Refuge Law Enforcement (DRLE)

(1) Overseeing the SHG;

 

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

 

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

 

(a) Select new SHG members, and

 

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

 

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

 

(5) Notifying the Commander when services are needed.

C. The Deputy Chief, DRLE

(1) Providing administrative and coordination support for the SHG,

 

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

 

(3) Ensuring SHG members are properly trained,

 

(4) Overseeing the SHG’s budget,

 

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

 

(6) Assuming all responsibilities of the Chief, DRLE when he/she is not available.

D. The SHG Commander

(1) Serving as a member of the SHG while working closely with the Chief, DRLE and the Deputy Chief, DRLE to ensure:

 

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

 

(b) SHG members are properly trained and prepared for service;

 

(2) Working with the Chief, DRLE to appoint a Deputy Commander from the ranks of the SHG;

 

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

 

(4) Assigning a Logistics Officer from the ranks of the SHG, with the approval of the Chief, DRLE;

 

(5) Assigning a Training Officer from the ranks of the SHG, with the approval of the Chief, DRLE;

 

(6) Serving as the point of contact for SHG members to help to resolve technical issues related to SOPs and training; and

 

(7) Designating and notifying SHG members for specific ceremonial events.

E. The SHG Deputy Commander

(1) Serving as a member of the SHG and working closely with the Commander to ensure that all SHG members are properly trained and accounted for,

 

(2) Assisting the Commander in identifying needs for the SHG, and

 

(3) Assuming the duties of the Commander if he/she is not available.

F. Officer-in-Charge of an Event

(1) Working closely with the Commander and Deputy Commander to coordinate SHG attendance and activities for a specific event;

 

(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 SHG members have adequate rehearsal and organizing rehearsal times and locations before the event;

 

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

 

(6) Ensuring the SHG fulfills all appointments and commitments they were assigned for an event;

 

(7) Serving as a liaison when the SHG is working with other agencies 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 Chief, DRLE; and

 

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

G. Logistics Officer

(1) Serving as a member of the SHG while working closely with the Commander and Deputy Commander to ensure the logistics are planned and efficiently executed;

 

(2) Coordinating purchases, travel arrangements, and acquisitions for the SHG;

 

(3) Working with the Commander and Deputy Commander to notify SHG members about deployments and training; and

 

(4) Assisting the Commander and Deputy Commander with other activities as needed.

H. Training Officer

Serving as a member of the SHG while working closely with the Commander and Deputy Commander to ensure fair and equitable basic and semi-annual training for all SHG members.

 

CHOOSING MEMBERS AND TYPES OF DEPLOYMENT

 

4.7 How are SHG members chosen, and how long do they serve?

           

A. Whenever a new SHG member is needed, the Chief, DRLE asks the Regional Refuge LE Chiefs to nominate officers from their Regions, and the Chief of the NWRS Branch of Fire Management to nominate firefighters. Nominees must complete the Service Honor Guard Application (FWS Form 3-1769). The Service maintains a minimum of 24 active duty SHG members at all times.

 

B. The Chief, DRLE, in coordination with the Commander of the SHG and the Deputy Chief, DRLE, selects SHG members.

 

C. Officers, firefighters, and their supervisors must make a minimum commitment of 3 years of service. Officers and firefighters must also complete required training (see section 4.9).

 

D. After completing 3 years of service, an SHG member may continue to serve or leave in good standing. If an officer wants to continue to serve as a reserve member, we may call upon him or her to serve if necessary and pending supervisory approval and appropriate training. If an SHG member leaves in good standing, he/she may keep the SHG badge and uniform. See chapter 3 of the Service Honor Guard Operational Handbook for more information on reserve and retired officers.

 

4.8 What are the situations where the Service may deploy the SHG, and what are the requirements for deployment?

 

A. Deployment Types: Following are the situations in which the Service deploys the SHG (see the Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook for requirements and ceremonies for each situation and for information about additional potential deployments):

 

(1) Death of a Service LE officer: Deceased, active-duty Service LE officers receive ceremonial honors regardless of whether they die in the line of duty or not.

 

(2) Death of a Service firefighter or Wildlife Inspector in the line of duty: A Regional Director may request ceremonial honors through the Chief, DRLE, and subject to the Director’s approval.

 

(3) Peace Officers’ Memorial Day: May 15th of each year is designated Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, which is part of “Police Week.” At the discretion of the Chief, DRLE, SHG members who are LE officers may represent the Service by attending Police Week ceremonies.

 

(4) National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend: The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation sponsors this weekend in early October. At the discretion of the Chief, DRLE, SHG members who are firefighters may represent the Service by attending ceremonies.

           

(5) Other ceremonies and events: The SHG must be available to perform in a ceremonial capacity when called upon by the Director.

 

(6) Emergency requests: The Director may call upon the SHG to mobilize for emergency requests.

 

B. Processing a Request for the SHG: If a Regional office, duty station manager, or other organization wants to request the SHG at an event, they must contact the Chief, DRLE or call the Serious Incident Reporting number (1-888-519-3606).

 

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

 

(2) Upon approval, the Chief, DRLE, or his/her designee, must advise the Commander and Deputy Commander as soon as possible to begin planning for deployment. 

 

(3) The SHG chain of command (i.e., the Deputy Chief, DRLE, Commander and Deputy Commander, Officer-in-Charge, and Logistics Officer) must arrange for appropriate resources needed for the ceremony and coordinate directly with event organizers to fulfill the mission.

 

TRAINING and STANDARDS

 

4.9 What are the training requirements for SHG members?

 

A. Basic training: Because of the complexity of the work and the need for the highest level of performance, new SHG members must attend basic training before beginning to serve.

 

(1) New SHG members must complete a minimum of 80 hours of formal SHG training, which Service SHG Training Officers conduct.

 

(2) New members may obtain training, in addition to the minimum 80 hours, through other law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Border Patrol or the U.S. military. 

 

B. Biannual training: After the initial 80 hours of training, SHG members must meet as a team and train for a minimum of 40 hours twice a year to maintain proficiency in ceremonial deployment. This training may take place at ceremonies or during other events. The Deputy Chief, DRLE must approve biannual training. The Service’s Honor Guard Operational Handbook describes training requirements in more detail.

 

(1) Wearing a training uniform: Whenever SHG members are in training status or representing the SHG at an informal meeting, they must wear the appropriate training uniform (see the Service Honor Guard Operational Handbook). This is necessary to ensure members are recognizable as Service employees and SHG 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 SHG.

 

4.10 What are the uniform, appearance, fitness, and conduct standards for participating in the SHG? Because of the SHG’s unique mission, the Service requires high standards of appearance. SHG members must appear as “one face” so as not to distract grieving family members by an individual officer’s appearance.

 

A. Uniform: The SHG uniform is unique. SHG members performing ceremonial duty must wear the uniform as described in the Service Honor Guard Operational Handbook. (See section 4.9B(1) for information about the training uniform.)

 

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

 

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

 

D. Conduct and Performance: SHG members must adhere to all conduct laws, rules, regulations, and policies that the Department and the Service establish.

 

(1) The Chief, DRLE, in consultation with the Commander of the SHG, will review any allegations of misconduct and poor performance on the part of an SHG member on a case-by-case basis.

 

(2) He/she may suspend or remove SHG members based on conduct and performance-related issues or investigations. We do not consider the suspension or removal of an SHG member to be punitive in nature. Membership to the SHG and participation in SHG duties are voluntary and are not a condition of employment.

 

E. Special Conditions of Membership for Firefighters: To maintain consistency in SHG members’ training and conduct standards, firefighter applicants must meet the following standards:

 

(1) Fitness: Prior to applying for the SHG, firefighter applicants must make arrangements with a Regional Health and Fitness Coordinator to demonstrate a required physical fitness level as described in the Service Honor Guard Operational Handbook.

 

(2) Firearm Safety: SHG members must perform ceremonial duties while handling a functioning rifle. Before applying for the SHG, firefighter applicants must attend a firearms safety or hunter safety course and attach the certificate of completion to their Service Honor Guard Applications (FWS Form 3-1769).

 

(3) Domestic Violence Disclosure: The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 makes it unlawful for any person, including a Federal employee, who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition. Because SHG members must perform ceremonial duties while handling a functioning rifle, a firefighter applicant must complete a Domestic Violence Disclosure form (see Exhibit 1, 442 FW 5) and attach it to his/her Service Honor Guard Application (FWS Form 3-1769). (LE officers have already completed this disclosure as part of their employment requirements.)

 

LOGISTICS and NOTIFICATIONS

 

4.11 Who pays for the SHG members’ participation at events?

 

A. The NWRS national office pays for SHG’s participation at required events (see section 4.8A). 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 SHG’s participation.

 

4.12 What are the SHG notification and activation procedures?

 

A. Notification: When an event or ceremony is approved by the Chief, DRLE or requested by the Director or his/her designee, the SHG Commander or Deputy Commander is the first team member notified of the function.

 

B. Activation: Upon notification of a function taking place, the SHG Commander or Deputy Commander determines how many SHG members are required to perform the function. He/she selects from the pool of available members those deemed most qualified to perform the tasks needed during the ceremony. The Commander or Deputy Commander calls, texts, or sends an email to the team members who will be activated, and also notifies all other SHG members about the function. Only the activated members will participate in the events.

 

4.13 How do SHG members notify the Service of their availability? SHG members 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. SHG members may use email or any other effective method to keep the Commander informed.

 

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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