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The Thin Green Line: Donning a Different Shade of Green Following Active Duty | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

The Thin Green Line: Donning a Different Shade of Green Following Active Duty

For many military service members, their desire to serve does not end with their time on active duty. Following their service to their nation, they go on to serve their community as police officers, firefighters, EMTs or other member of the emergency services. But there is an often overlooked profession – the conservation officer.

The transition to conservation officer is a natural choice for service members, especially those with a lifelong love of the outdoors, because many of the same skills are needed in both professions. But there are two main reasons that it is overlooked by those searching to start the next stage in their life:

  1. Conservation officers are not as readily known as traditional law enforcement.
  2. Many people do not understand what conservation officers actually do.

So, let me clear things up for you and tell you how you can join the Thin Green Line.

Conservation officers are law enforcement professionals whose primary is the enforcement of law and regulations related to protection of natural resources, hunting & fishing and environmental protection. In the Eastern United States, duties often also include enforcement of boating laws, although this is often a secondary task in other parts of the nation with local police picking up the majority of these duties. Although not always the case, the majority of modern conservation officers are fully sworn law enforcement officers with the authority to enforce non-natural resource related laws as well, including criminal and vehicular offenses.

Every state in the nation employs conservation officers, and they are known by several names including wildlife agents, conservation police officers, environmental police and similar titles. Many Federal agencies also employ conservation officers, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and several military installations. Regardless of the agency for which they work the job of the conservation officer is surprisingly similar from coast to coast and includes working long hours, in a variety of conditions, patrolling by many different means from horseback to aircraft and frequently in remote areas. Because most conservation officers work alone, far from backup and in almost constant contact with armed sportsmen, the job can be dangerous. But it also allows you to spend most days outdoors rather than behind a desk or sitting along a highway watching traffic. Few days are ever the same.

If you are interested in becoming a conservation officer, I recommend you do some research and contact the agencies in the areas you may wish to settle down in. Specific requirements will vary by department, but you should expect to take a written civil service examination, a physical & physiological evaluation, PT test and in-person interview. Some departments also require a college degree but will often accept prior law enforcement or military experience as an alternative. When hired, you will attend a basic police academy, specialized training in conservation enforcement, complete field training and usually there will be a probationary period before being assigned to work solo.

So, if you are looking to end your time on active duty, why not consider trying on a different shade of green?

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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