Law Enforcement

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Protecting resources and people on our refuges is the fundamental responsibility of refuge officers. The mission of the Refuge Law Enforcement Program is to support the administration of the National Wildlife Refuge System through the management and protection of natural, historic and cultural resources, property, and people on lands and waters of our National Wildlife Refuges.

The primary purpose for America’s National Wildlife Refuges is protecting and managing habitat and species, and other natural resources. Refuge Law Enforcement plays a vital role in fulfilling this mission, as well as providing a safe environment for people utilizing the refuge. These two focuses of Refuge Law Enforcement are often referred to as Resource Protection and Visitor Protection.

Resource Protection
From the earliest days of the National Wildlife Refuge System at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Refuge Officers have ensured that wildlife, plants, and other natural resources on our National Wildlife Refuges are protected for the benefit of present and future generations of all people. Refuge Officers receive extensive training in both standard police operations and the highly specialized field of wildlife law enforcement. Refuge Officers work closely with the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to enforce Federal laws such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Refuge Administration Act, Refuge Recreation Act, and the Endangered Species Act, as well as all pertinent state wildlife laws and regulations. See the current Complex Hunting and Fishing Regulations for more information.

Visitor Protection
Visitors to National Wildlife Refuges can expect to meet Refuge Officers busily doing their job. Their presence helps provide an added measure of safety and security for the public on the refuge. These officers also conduct emergency response operations, and assist visitors by providing information about refuge programs and activities. Feel free to call on any Refuge Officer if you have questions or need help.