The DNR’s Bureau of Law Enforcement has a variety of sworn law enforcement positions within its ranks. These positions offer the opportunity to gain experience, specialize and promote. Take time to explore these positions below!
Field Conservation Wardens serve as full-time law enforcement officers for the DNR, make up the majority of the Bureau of Law Enforcement’s staff. Their duties include a wide variety of enforcement and education, including:
Field Conservation Wardens positions are a critical component of the DNR’s Bureau of Law Enforcement team and, as such, are expected to actively participate as background investigators, field training officers, and/or staff instructors within the agency.
Field Conservation Wardens are typically assigned to a warden team, and are responsible for patrolling and conducting investigations in an assigned geographic area (most often all or part of a county). That being said, field Conservation Wardens often travel outside of their assigned areas to assist with other cases, focused enforcement efforts, and to patrol State Parks.
Field Conservation Wardens are also expected to take an active role in hiring, training and mentoring new staff. There are a variety of additional, non-promotional duties that field Conservation Wardens may take on during their careers. These include:
Lastly, field Conservation Wardens can apply to participate on the Department’s special teams, which include: Underwater ROV (remote operate vehicle), Tactical Boat, Dignitary Protection, Honor Guard, Tactical Flight Officer.
The LTE Conservation Warden Position is a certified Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officer, but one who works only seasonally for the DNR. Under the direction of a field Conservation Warden or Warden Supervisor, LTE Conservation Wardens are responsible for educating the public and enforcing all laws of the state while on Department managed properties and for all laws administered by the DNR throughout Wisconsin. This includes assisting full-time Conservation Wardens with water patrol, recreational vehicle patrol, environmental investigations, and hunting/fishing/trapping enforcement efforts. Additionally LTE Conservation Wardens regularly are assigned to assist with law enforcement efforts in Wisconsin’s State Parks. These wardens are usually assigned to a field Conservation Warden team, and may be called upon to assist in multiple counties.
Recreational Wardens (RWs) are based out of the Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills (RSOS) Section, providing leadership and direction for the Bureau of Law Enforcement’s comprehensive recreational enforcement, recreational incident investigations and specialized training program.
RWs serve as law enforcement safety specialists. Areas of specialization include hunting, boating, and off highway vehicles (ATVs, UTVs, OHMs, and snowmobiles). RWs provide expertise, training and investigative assistance for hunting, boating and off highway vehicle accident investigations, working closely with field Conservation Wardens and local law enforcement patrols. They also assist other units of government in waterway marker adoption, and reviews of local government ordinances related to boating, off highway vehicle and hunting-related regulations.
Investigative Wardens specialize in investigating complex cases, most often involving the commercialization of natural resources and environmental violations. Investigative Wardens work closely with field Conservation Wardens, as well as other DNR program staff (Environmental Enforcement, Fisheries, etc.) to gather and review information, conduct investigative interviews, and build legal cases. These wardens are experienced in obtaining search warrants and subpoenas, and reviewing electronic records. Investigative Wardens are assigned regionally, but often put their skills to use throughout the state.
Conservation Warden Supervisors serve as front-line supervisors for the Warden Force, serving as a conduit between field Conservation Wardens and upper management. These wardens typically lead 6-8 field Conservation Warden staff spread out over several counties. Conservation Warden Supervisors are responsible for developing staff, administering DNR policies and legal mandates, as well as conducting administrative tasks. Conservation Warden Supervisors also assist their staff with patrol efforts and case investigations.
Administrative Wardens serve as statewide program experts and specialists. Whether their specialty is Hunter Education or hiring, these wardens manage programs of statewide significance and often conduct work on behalf of the entire Department. They serve the people of Wisconsin, the Department, the Bureau of Law Enforcement, and its many external partners. We currently have 11 administrative wardens, whose specialties include Homeland Security, Hunter Education, ATV and Snowmobile Program Administration, Captive Wildlife, Internet & Digital Investigations, Recruitment and Hiring of Conservation Wardens, Tactical Training, Training Academy oversight, Policy, and Commercial Fisheries.
For more information contact the Conservation Warden Recruiter: Jeffrey King
Preparing to become a Conservation Warden | Hiring Process | The First Year of Training - What to Expect | A Day in the Life of a Warden | Benefits | A Diversity of Opportunities