Conservation Law Enforcement

Conservation Law Enforcement Summary

The mission of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) is to assist Native American and Alaska Native Tribes with the conservation, protection and enhancement of their fish and wildlife resources.  A large portion of that mission is to support Tribal conservation law enforcement activities throughout the United States.

Approximately 300 certified Conservation Law Enforcement Officers (CLEO) are employed in Indian Country and are primarily responsible for the enforcement of natural resource regulations within their respective areas.  However, in many Tribal departments, officers also regulate other non-resource related violations such as traffic, drug, and domestic violence crimes; and they often support search and rescue operations or other community policing situations where necessary.  Theoretically, one can conclude that each officer is responsible for the enforcement of hundreds of regulations in an approximate area of 187,333 acres.

Funding to support CLEO programs varies among the many Tribes and those variances have a direct impact on the continued success of individual departments.  The majority of conservation law enforcement funding is allocated to cover employee salaries, benefits, and routine operations.  Money for officer equipment and training may sometimes be limited or nonexistent, which could possibly jeopardize the safety of the officer or the safety of those whom they are sworn to protect.

Funding for CLEO training is critical for officers to maintain their certifications as sworn peace officers, but more importantly to protect them and others from the everchanging risks they encounter daily.  Additionally, officers must be afforded sound and advanced equipment to carry out their duties effectively and without concern for failure.

NAFWS, therefore, supports CLEOs on a national level with direct expenses associated with virtual and in-person law enforcement training for officers to successfully meet their mandated training requirements; and/or with other specialized leadership, instructional and officer safety events.  In some instances, the NAFWS will also consider supporting the purchase of equipment deemed necessary to conduct natural resource law enforcement in a safe and efficient manner.

It has and will continue to be the mission of the NAFWS to champion the enhancement of fish and wildlife resources throughout Indian country for the benefit of each Native community and their future generations.

Conservation Law Related Links

  • Game Warden EDU
    Game wardens manage conservation efforts designed to keep fish and game populations at a sustainable level. This dual-role profession requires law enforcement skills as much as it requires knowledge of environmental science and wildlife management practices. Here at, we know that it takes a special person to bring their respect for the natural environment to bear on a profession that most often involves busting poachers, vandals and criminals that illegally harvest natural resources.
  • HIDTA Program: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

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In Recognition of Their Support

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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