Training is Key for NOAA's Enforcement Officers and Agents
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement
We recently held our annual in-service training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. This was my third trip to FLETC as Director of NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement, and I’m always amazed with the facility and quality of training. FLETC serves as the interagency law enforcement training organization for 91 federal agencies and has trained approximately 1 million law enforcement officers and agents since it was established in 1970. It is the premier training facility in the country for law enforcement officers.
During my week there, I was reminded of our staff’s dedication and the intense training they undergo when entering our program, as well as the continuing education they receive to keep them at the forefront of law enforcement practices. This level of training is critical, as we are the only federal agency dedicated full-time to the protection and conservation of our nation’s living marine resources and our sworn personnel are the only subject-matter experts for fisheries enforcement.
From educating the public to conducting complex investigations, our Special Agents and Enforcement Officers are knowledgeable about and enforce a vast array of federal statutes and regulations associated with fisheries and environmental issues. Becoming an agent or officer is no easy feat; it requires years of training, supervised field work, and annual refresher courses to stay on top of the latest developments in law enforcement.
Trainees undergo a rigorous training regimen that prepares them for their time in the field. They start out at FLETC, where all of our sworn personnel go through core training, basic training, and the Marine Law Enforcement Training Program. Because, as the job titles suggest, agents and officers perform specialized job functions, they then set out on separate training tracks to hone their unique skill sets. Agents attend the Criminal Investigation Training Program (CITP) to focus on investigating complex civil and criminal cases once violations have occurred, while officers attend the Uniformed Police Training Program (UPTP) to focus on improving compliance with regulations in the fishing community.
After their training at FLETC, sworn personnel undergo 12 to 16 weeks of field training with a veteran agent or officer. This provides the trainee with a supervised introduction into the field and ensures they are able to operate on their own. Agents and officers are continually honing their skills through their daily job functions as well as annual refresher courses.
This latest visit to FLETC reinforced my contention that our agents and officers are some of the best and brightest in their field. I have great appreciation for the years of training they undergo and the passion they have for this rewarding work.
Director, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (2011-2014)
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