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Law Enforcement and Investigations

Law enforcement is an integral part of the overall management of the National Forest System. Law enforcement personnel, line officers, and appropriate staff ensure that prevention, investigation, enforcement, and program management requirements are fully integrated into all National Forest System resource management programs. Law enforcement personnel operate as full partners within the Forest Service organization in carrying out the agency's mission, especially in upholding Federal laws and regulations that protect natural resources, agency employees, and the public. Accomplishment of the Forest Service law enforcement mission is a product of trust, cooperation, and collaboration between law enforcement personnel and other agency employees.

Our Mission

To serve people, protect natural resources and property within the authority and jurisdiction of the Forest Service.

Our Vision

The Law Enforcement and Investigations organization is an integral part of the Forest Service, recognized as leaders in public and employee safety, natural resource protection, and as a professional cooperator with other law enforcement agencies. The law enforcement organization is a diverse workforce committed to integrity, responsibility, and accountability.

Our Objectives

  • Protect the public, employees, natural resources, and other property under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service,
  • Investigate and enforce applicable laws and regulations which effect the National Forest System, and
  • Prevent criminal violations through informing and educating visitors and users of applicable laws and regulations.

Organization

National Forest lands are divided administratively into regions and each region has a Special Agent in Charge also known as a SAC who oversees the law enforcement program. Each region is divided into zones and special agents are stationed in each zone according to work load.

The typical organization below the SAC is one position to supervise the investigative division and one patrol commander to supervise the enforcement organization. 

Depending upon the number of employees in each region, each regional organization is supported by administrative personnel usually including a budget analyst, administrative assistant, and an investigative assistant. The administrative assistant handles personnel issues, budget, travel, filing, and data input of incident reports. 

What We Do

Enforcement

Uniformed Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) enforce Federal laws and regulations governing National Forest Lands and resources. As part of that mission LEOs carry firearms, defensive equipment, make arrests, execute search warrants, complete reports and testify in court.

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Investigation

Special Agents are criminal investigators who plan and conduct investigations concerning possible violations of criminal and administrative provisions of the Forest Service and other statues under the U.S. Code. Special agents are normally plain clothes officers who carry concealed firearms, and other defensive equipment, make arrests, carry out complex criminal investigations, present cases for prosecution to U.S. Attorneys, and prepare investigative reports.

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Organization

National Forest lands are divided administratively into regions and each region has a Special Agent in Charge also known as a SAC who oversees the law enforcement program. Each region is divided into zones and special agents are stationed in each zone according to work load.

Learn More about Organization »

Drug Control Program

The basic mission of Law Enforcement and Investigations (LE&I) is public and employee safety, resource protection, enforcement of U.S. Criminal Law, and to provide enforcement expertise to other agency managers. The National Forest System Drug Control Act of 1986, as amended in 1988, and Title 16 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), provides authorization to the Forest Service (FS) for law enforcement activities relating to the Controlled Substance Act and Title 21 U.S.C. Subsequently, officers of the FS are charged with performing drug enforcement duties on National Forest System (NFS) lands or in areas with a nexus to NFS lands.

Learn more about Drug Control »

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