The historical roots of our law enforcement mission can be traced back to the 1600's when the need for fish, wildlife and natural resource protection was just as apparent as it is today. The early Colonists of this region established laws related to the taking of fish and game.
Today's Environmental Police Officer
Today's Environmental Police Officer, also known as a Game Warden, Conservation Officer or Natural Resource Officer continues the tradition of one of the oldest law enforcement missions and responsibilities in our nation. Enforcement of fish & game laws including the commercial and recreational harvest of the living marine resources along our coastline is the foundation of our law enforcement mission. Over time and with a better understanding of our natural environment as a whole our responsibilities have grown and evolved to include the enforcement of a much greater and broader variety of laws and regulations.
The Environmental Police is the primary enforcement agency of the Commonwealth’s boating and recreational vehicle laws and regulations. The Office of Law Enforcement is responsible for registering boats, all terrain vehicles and snowmobiles in Massachusetts. Boating safety enforcement and recreational vehicle enforcement are an every day part of an Environmental Police Officer’s patrol. With an enforcement fleet of over fifty vessels the Environmental Police patrol all waters of the Commonwealth, both Inland and Coastal. Officers use 4X4 vehicles, all terrain vehicles and snowmobiles to patrol off-road areas throughout Massachusetts. These additional enforcement responsibilities compliment our mission of protecting the natural resources of the Commonwealth.
Boating & Recreational Vehicle Safety
Our organization’s Boating & Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau has established a dramatic record in the field of boating safety education. Through their classroom efforts and a strong officer presence on the water, this state's annual boating fatality rate has dropped from a high yearly average of 22 fatalities per year in the 1970's to a record low of 5 fatalities in the year 2000.
Environmental law enforcement and education
Environmental law enforcement and education have always been partners for our officers as they go about their duties in the field. Our Environmental Police Officers spend considerable time educating the public about wildlife and natural resource protection. This takes place during an officer’s daily contact while on patrol or through formal classroom or civic presentations.
Environmental Police Officers are very involved in other components of Environmental law enforcement including the investigation of stolen boats, all terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. We patrol the Commonwealth’s forests and parks for the Division of State Parks and Recreation. The Environmental Police, as members of the Environmental Crimes Strike Force, investigate criminal violations of the Commonwealth’s environmental laws and regulations in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the State Office of the Attorney General.