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Enforcement Program Mission Statement
To serve Washington’s citizens by achieving compliance with laws relating to fish and wildlife, providing responsive public service, promptly resolving conflicts between humans and wildlife, and by forming partnerships with the public and with other agencies to benefit fish and wildlife.

Who are We?

Fish and Wildlife Officers (FWOs) are general authority peace officers deployed to six regions throughout the state and a Marine Division. During the 2005-2007 biennium, the Enforcement Program has employed 156 full-time employees. Of these, 138 are commissioned FWOs and 16 are non-commissioned employees; these include four Hunter Education staff, two aircraft pilots, two vessel/vehicle shop staff and eight administrative support and professional staff. Temporary, part-time staff of 2 full-time equivalent positions provide support for Hunter Education and deer/elk herding and hazing. Currently, 89% of the Enforcement Program staff is field deployed.

See also:

What do we Do?

Officers’ Responsibilities
The primary role of the Enforcement Program is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate Washington’s fish and wildlife. However, FWOs also respond to public safety issues such as dangerous wildlife conflicts, natural disasters (including floods, fires, and severe storms), critical incidents, and general law enforcement calls for service. FWOs are highly mobile and are frequently deployed temporarily to various areas within the state to address fish and wildlife law enforcement issues.

Officers provide first response to human/wildlife conflicts including bear and cougar complaints, deer and elk damage to crops, problem wildlife incidents, and other public safety issues. Fish and Wildlife Officers are often called upon to assist their local city, county, and other state law enforcement agencies, tribal authorities, and federal agencies.

On an average, officers currently make more than 225,000 enforcement contacts annually.

Officers’ Authority
The Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Program is primarily responsible for enforcing Title 77 - the Fish and Wildlife Code. FWOs are also empowered to enforce all criminal laws, including traffic violations, drugs, and warrants for arrest. Officers hold county commissions and are charged with enforcing county ordinances as they relate to trespass, hunting, fishing, and boating safety.

Officers also hold federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) commissions, and have jurisdiction over federal violations, the most important of which are the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act. Officers work joint patrols and coordinate with these agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard.

For more information, please see our Annual Reports.

What does it take to become an Officer?

Minimum Qualifications

Age: Applicant must be 21 years old prior to being employed
Health: Applicant must be able to physically perform the duties of a Fish and Wildlife Officer, including passing the Physical Ability Test required for entry into the Academy. A successful applicant must also pass a medical examination and a psychological assessment.
A Bachelor's degree (natural resource science or criminal justice preferred)
A two-year college degree, and two years of paid, full-time, natural resource experience or two years of paid, full-time, commissioned law enforcement experience.

Must be a United States citizen and have the ability to read and write the English language.

For more information, visit our Recruitment page.

What are the program’s goals and vision for the Future?

We are currently Recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), and we are working toward achieving full accreditation in December 2008. This means achieving the highest recognized standards for a law enforcement agency and involves training, policy development, and operational procedures.

Resource-Oriented Enforcement
Our goal is to institutionalize community policing, known as Resource-Oriented Enforcement, at WDFW. This means that an officer in the field works within the community as a partner with city and county government and constituents to solve problems at the local level. In order to do this, we need officers in more of our communities.

For more information, please review the agency Strategic Plan.