Forest Service Law Enforcement Careers

The United States and Canadian Forest Service’s are the owners of millions of acres of forest lands across North America.

The United States Forest System is about 193 million acres alone.

It falls upon both organizations to protect those resources and the people working or playing in them. In similar fashion to law enforcement entities found in a typical city, various law enforcement careers are required to provide those protective services. An individual serving in these positions must have a detailed knowledge of the laws and regulations pertinent to their location and be able to interpret and apply their meanings.

In contrast to an urban law enforcement role, these positions require a person to be comfortable working alone in the outdoors, with the ability to conduct investigations and analyze evidence over a range of crime levels.

The law enforcement officer is responsible for patrolling the public lands and roads within their jurisdiction and enforcing the law whenever illegal activity takes place. Teaching educational programs to the public, constructing initial investigations into crimes and enforcing federal drug laws all fall into the forest service law enforcement officer’s realm.

The officer will work in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies and assist with search-and-rescue missions or other emergencies. Salary expectations should be between $40,000 and $50,000.

In Canada, a similar position, referred to as a compliance and enforcement officer, is responsible for enforcing forestry regulations. Not only do they monitor for illegal public activity, they also monitor industry to ensure they are complying with laws and other regulations. Beginning salary expectations should be somewhere between Can$30,000 to $40,000 annually. These officers are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in a wide range of four-year college programs.

A criminal investigator is a significant role in the United States and Canadian Forest Service law enforcement. As with any local city police department, the investigator is responsible for examining possible law violations, but these investigators focus on those involving the national forest systems. Typical investigations involve theft or damage of timber, forest fire initiation or drug trafficking. As with the law enforcement officer, the investigator works with various agencies in solving crimes and surveillance of suspects. In addition, their investigations typically require them to present their findings or even appear in court.

As with the officer, the investigator is usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in a wide range of four-year college programs.

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