National Native American Non-Profit Launches Tribal Conservation Law Enforcement Training Program

The Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (Society) partners with the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Division of Fish Wildlife and Parks (BIA) in supporting tribal conservation law enforcement programs.

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 18, 2014 – Earlier this year, the BIA accepted proposals from twenty tribes to hire new Conservation Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs). Each tribe funded was provided $47,000 per year to support these positions.

For a tribe to participate in the CLEO program it must have enforceable fish and wildlife codes, a court system, and a new officer hired within 180 days of receiving the funds. Each new officer is required to gain certification through the Indian Police Academy (or equivalent) during their first year of employment.

With a history of coordinating in-service training events for tribal officers primarily with the Great Plains tribes, never has there been enough resources to commit toward building a dedicated national CLEO program, said Patrick Durham, NAFWS’ CLEO Training Coordinator Contractor. “Through the BIA’s goal of ensuring that the new CLEOs have sufficient training opportunities (40 hours in-service per year) and the Society’s training partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), there could be the perfect set up.”

Durham reports that “there is a verbal commitment from OLE Chief, William Woody to support these programs on a national scale.”

“It has been rewarding for us at the BIA, Natural Resources, to watch the growth in professional relationships between the Tribal and Federal Law Enforcement Conservation Officers at the trainings,” said Diane Mann-Klager, BIA, Great Plains Regional Natural Resources Officer.

The Society plans in June 2015, a 40-hour training to be held in Billings, MT and a short course at the Society’s Great Plains Regional Conference at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Durham said commitments have been made from FWS Regional Special Agents to conduct similar events at the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southwest regional areas.”

To move forward, the Society would need to ensure that it can fill 35-40 seats per training event, and set a location so that dates can be set.

The Society brings in its own tribal instructors, experts from the Federal agencies, and private contractors. For more information about tailoring an training event to meet specific regional needs, contact Patrick Durham at [email protected], (202) 770-9650.

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The Native American Fish and Wildlife Society would like to thank those organizations that provided us with support over the years. With them we grew an effective national communications network for the exchange of information and management techniques related to self-determined tribal fish and wildlife management.

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