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Conservation Police Officer Recruiting

Individuals who are interested in a law enforcement career could easily find themselves migrating into the field of natural resources where exciting opportunities await them as Conservation Police Officers. Once known as Game Wardens, these public safety professionals dedicate their lives to the protection of our natural resources by enforcing laws and regulations that regulate the activities of sportsmen and women who participate in outdoor recreation.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Work activities are as varied as the day of the week or season of the year. Although officers have full police authority with statewide jurisdiction, Conservation Police Officers (CPO) primarily enforce the fish, wildlife and boating laws while patrolling their areas of assignment using 4WD police vehicles, boats of various sizes, mountain bikes, and ATVs.

In the course of this patrol, the officer detects violations of law, apprehends and arrests violators, conducts investigations, prepares cases for trial and ultimately presents findings and evidence in court. Accordingly, written reports and records are produced and kept in a manner reflecting the professionalism of sworn personnel.

In addition, the CPO is the front-line employee and as such, must be able to effectively communicate with and address the concerns of constituents in a multitude of areas relative to the mission of the agency.

A successful CPO is also active in various educational outreach programs to promote safety and outdoor education. All officers are active in state-mandated Hunter Education and Boater Education programs, which educate youth and adults in the wise and ethical stewardship of our natural resources, as well as safe firearms and boating practices.

As expected, officers will maintain their issued equipment in a state of operational readiness, to be utilized whenever and wherever needed. Equally as important and vital to the success of a CPO is the ability to develop effective relationships within the community to ensure that the mission of the agency is accomplished.


Applicants for the position of Conservation Police Officer must possess a high-school diploma or GED equivalent and be at least 21 years of age by the date of hire. Experience that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities is essential. Additionally, applicants must have a safe driving history and possess or be eligible for a valid Virginia driver’s license.

Medical (including hearing and vision testing), psychological and polygraph examinations will be conducted as part of the selection process. Successful applicants will also undergo a background investigation that will include educational achievements, prior work experience, interviews with character and reputation references, a credit history check and a criminal history check.

Additionally, candidates must be willing to:

  • Travel to complete all tests and/or screenings at your own expense
  • Successfully pass a physical agility assessment (PDF)
  • Maintain a primary residence within the county or city of assignment
  • Work days, nights, weekends and holidays
  • Travel overnight as assigned

Once hired, recruits will attend the 26-week Basic Law Enforcement Academy and become sworn law enforcement officers. These newly sworn law enforcement officers will undergo a 15-week field training program under the direction of a Field Training Officer. Only after this extensive training does the new officer earn the title of Virginia Conservation Police Officer.


A career as a Conservation Police Officer provides many opportunities to perform interesting and rewarding work. There are challenges, however, and the Department wants you to be fully aware of some of those challenging possibilities at the beginning of the selection process. Please be sure you are willing to:

  • Spend hours outdoors in all types of weather
  • Enter remote areas alone and confront, question and/or arrest armed persons who may be larger and stronger than you
  • Maintain your professionalism in the face of verbal abuse
  • Investigate fatal hunting and boating incidents
  • Take the life of a human being if needed in self-defense or the defense of another
  • Successfully complete rigorous physical and academic training

Before graduating from the Academy each recruit will be required to swim a minimum of 50 meters and tread water for a minimum of 15 minutes. In addition, the recruits will be trained to perform tasks while wearing a full uniform and law enforcement equipment both with and without personal flotation devices. This training will take place in swimming pools as well as freshwater and saltwater locations. Academy lifeguards and SCUBA personnel will always be available to assist you with your swimming improvement needs.

Individuals needing assistance with their swimming should enroll in a creditable swimming or water safety program prior to attending the Academy. For more information and locations of swimming and water safety programs you should visit the American Red Cross Web site and the YMCA Web site. Other suitable swimming programs may be available in your local living area.


Contact our Recruiter for more information: