Conservation Officer Trainee, Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Pierre, SD

Job Title: Conservation Officer Trainee

Organization: Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Type of opportunity: These are positions in training to become fully certified Conservation Officers (CO) for the Division of Wildlife. CO Trainees must enter the training program with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of expertise related to fish and wildlife management; they cannot be gained from the training programs provided.

CO Trainees begin by entering the South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pierre and complete thirteen weeks of training in a general law enforcement curriculum. In order to retain employment and proceed to the next phase of training, incumbents must graduate from the Academy and become certified as law enforcement officers in South Dakota.

Incumbents are then assigned to the Conservation Officer Field Training Program and spend approximately fifteen weeks in a field assignment designed to train them in various functions of conservation law enforcement, community policing, and problem solving; plus additional classroom training in wildlife, fisheries and habitat management. This program requires the incumbents to travel extensively throughout the state. Wildlife Training Officers (WTO’s) function as mentors during the program and evaluate the performance of CO Trainees on specific training tasks and on their abilities to apply knowledge and skills in field situations.

Upon successful completion of both training programs, Conservation Officer Trainees are converted to a Conservation Officer at a pay grade GI. They may be temporarily assigned to regional wildlife offices in Rapid City, Watertown, Chamberlain, or Sioux Falls until permanent duty stations are available. Incumbents must be willing to accept any vacant duty station in South Dakota. Conservation Officers function in five primary areas, wildlife and wildlife damage management, fisheries management, land and habitat management, conservation law enforcement, and public relations.

Duties: Enforces conservation and other laws and provides for public safety; manages wildlife, fisheries, water, and land resources; implements and delivers department programs and services; represents the department to the public, and secures hunter and angler access and provides for recreational opportunities.

Desired qualifications: A bachelor’s of science in wildlife and fisheries or equivalent degree and/or experience is preferred. Exceptional interpersonal communication skills; the ability to deal effectively with people, especially in stressful situations; effective organizational skills, writing skills, the ability to speak in public; strong organizational skills; and competent problem-solving skills.

Knowledge of:

  • conservation law enforcement principles, practices, techniques, and tactics;
  • fish, wildlife, and habitat conservation and management practices;
  • biological principles and practices pertaining to fish and wildlife;
  • an understanding of habitat management practices beneficial to fish and wildlife;
  • agency programs that promote public access;
  • wildlife damage management techniques and practices;
  • state and federal laws, regulations, and agency policies that govern hunting, fishing, trapping, and boating;
  • court and criminal procedures, rules of evidence collection, and preservation and criminal investigative techniques.

Skill to:

  • identify native fish, wildlife, and plants;
  • collect and preserve evidence and provide effective courtroom testimony;
  • interview witnesses and suspects and write clear and concise reports;
  • effectively collect data while conducting fish and wildlife surveys and make sound fish and wildlife harvest recommendations.

Ability to:

  • effectively deal with people from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds;
  • establish and maintain relationships with landowners and sportsmen;
  • promote conservation law enforcement, fish and wildlife management, hunter/angler access opportunities;
  • deliver wildlife damage program services;
  • de-escalate conflict and problem solve;
  • operate boats, snowmobiles, ATVs, firearms and other specialized equipment;
  • effectively present educational and outreach programs.

Start and end dates: Full-time position

Salary/pay: $19.67 per hour

How to apply: Apply here.

Application deadline: 08/20/2019

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