FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for protecting Florida’s natural resources, including fish, wildlife and the environment, while providing a safe atmosphere for residents and visitors to recreate. This is in keeping with the Division’s core missions.
FWC officers have full police powers and statewide jurisdiction. They patrol rural, wilderness and inshore and offshore areas and are often the sole law enforcement presence in many remote parts of the state. The Division of Law Enforcement has cooperative agreements with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Officers are also cross-deputized to enforce federal marine fisheries and wildlife laws, thus ensuring state and federal consistency in resource-protection efforts.
Division of Law Enforcement Sections
Law Enforcement Operations
The Operations section’s six regions throughout the state are responsible for uniformed patrol and investigative law enforcement services of the FWC’s 800-plus officer workforce. The officers and investigators protect fish, wildlife and the environment as well as Florida’s residents and visitors. FWC investigators are able to conduct both overt (uniform) and covert (plainclothes) investigations. The FWC can target hard-core commercial violators by conducting long-term undercover investigations. Investigators are also responsible for inspecting personal and commercial native and exotic wildlife facilities as well as investigating hunting and boating accidents and environmental crimes.
This section also provides statewide coordination of all aviation, offshore vessel, K-9 and Special Operations Group activities. Aviation assets play a vital role in the agency’s effort to enforce conservation and boating laws, protect endangered and threatened species and safeguard outdoor users. The division’s offshore patrol vessels concentrate on offshore fisheries and protected marine areas as well as public safety. The K-9 teams are specially trained in tracking and wildlife detection. The K-9s receive no aggression training and are very "user-friendly." In addition to their law enforcement functions, they have proved to be a great community oriented policing relations tool.
Law Enforcement Programs
This section is responsible for the technology that allows FWC officers to operate daily in the field. Staff researches, tests and acquires new computer and telecommunications technology, manages the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system which enhances officer safety and efficiency and coordinates with other state law enforcement agencies with the statewide radio system Joint Task Force.
This section provides professional basic recruit and advanced training and career development programs to officers statewide. Staff trains FWC officers in the aspects of non-traditional policing as well as ensuring basic law enforcement standards are met and maintained. This section also manages the FWC’s valuable reserve officer program.
This section supports the investigators in the region, providing direction and oversight. All captive wildlife and long-term undercover, environmental crimes and commercial resource investigations are coordinated by this staff as well. This section also oversees the internet crimes unit and forensics program.
Intelligence and Mutual Aid
This section provides intelligence information to officers in the field and coordinates with other agencies and entities to ensure safe outdoor experiences for Florida’s residents and visitors. This section also utilizes the Division’s unique capabilities, equipment and expertise to coordinate search, rescue and recovery services. Through mutual aid efforts with local, state and federal partners, this section helps provide efficiency in emergency response to critical incidents and environmental and natural disasters.
Fleet, Property and Record Services
This section supports the officers in the field by ensuring they have the best operating patrol fleet available. Control of the Division’s assets, data entry of arrest/warning citations and management of these records are other vital support services provided to by this section.
Law Enforcement Chief of Staff
Boating and Waterways
This section’s employees manage state waterways and their markers and signs to protect boaters and wildlife. They coordinate the removal of derelict vessels and the development of boating infrastructure. They use many methods to promote boating safety, from education and outreach to investigation and analysis of boating accident data. Staff also improves and increases boating access to Florida’s waters through two grant programs.
Policy and Planning
This section supports the Division by providing planning on continuous improvement projects, coordinating accreditation, developing policies and organizing staff and audit inspections.
Staff in this section supports the Division by handling purchase approvals, grants and contracts and managing the Division's budget.
Sworn personnel are fully constituted police officers as provided under Florida Statute 379.3311. This gives them the authority to enforce all laws of the state, not just those relating to fish and wildlife. Our officers are also cross-deputized to enforce federal fisheries and wildlife laws.