How to Become an Environmental Police Officer

Enforcement Powers of an Environmental Police Officer
(See RIGL § 20-1-8)

environmental police officer on deck of boat

Environmental Police Officers have the power to enforce all laws, rules, and regulations of this state pertaining to:

  • Fish, wildlife, and all vertebrates and plants
  • Fresh water wetlands, dams, and resources
  • Areas and activities subject to the jurisdiction of the Coastal Resource Management Council
  • State parks, reservations, management areas, hatcheries, and game preserves, and any law of the state within these areas
  • Solid and hazardous waste transportation, storage, and disposal and any law pertaining to such
  • Boating safety, water safety, and drowning prevention
  • Water and air pollution and open burning
  • Firearms
  • Littering
  • Trees and forests, forestry, and protection of forests from fire hazards and trespass
  • Agriculture, farmland, and pest control
  • Assault
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon
  • Larceny
  • Vandalism
  • Obstructing officer in the execution of duty

 In addition, all Environmental Police Officers are deputized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Customs to enforce federal laws respective to each agency within the State.

Required Qualifications for Appointment

environmental police officer holding antlers of dead stag

Knowledge, Skills and Capacities: A thorough knowledge of the proper use and care of firearms; a familiarity with the state's fish and game laws, boating laws, and forestry laws; a familiarity with the life habits and living conditions of fish, game, shellfish, and vegetation common to the state; familiarity with techniques of forest fire prevention and suppression; the ability to enforce state laws and regulations; the ability to deal tactfully with the general public; the capacity to learn to operate inboard and outboard boats on the water's of the state, the capacity to learn to operate all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles, and to learn to operate two-way radios.

Education and Experience

Education: A bachelor's degree in Biology, Natural Resources or related discipline.

Experience: Such as may be gained from employment as a full time environmental police officer trainee or in a position responsible for conservation/natural resource law enforcement with powers of arrest.

Special Requirements: Rhode Island motor vehicle operator's license; meet Rhode Island's qualifications to carry weapons used on duty and must maintain such qualification requirements as a condition of employment; must pass the agility performance, the psychological evaluation, and other requirements of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy.

Additional Training: In addition to attending 10 to 12 days of in-service training annually, EPO's also attend the following:

  • Marine Law Enforcement Training: Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, GA
  • Advanced Marine Law Enforcement: Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, GA
  • National Safe Boating Instructors Training Course: US Coast Guard Training Center, Yorktown, VA
  • Living Marine Resource Training: US Coast Guard, Otis Air Force Base
  • URI Criminalistic School: State Crime Lab, Kingstown, RI
  • Breathalyzer Operator Training: RI Department of Health
  • Small Arms Course: Smith & Wesson, Springfield, MA
  • Aerobics Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Testing: Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research, Dallas, TX
  • Marine Theft Investigators Training School: International Assoc. of Marine Investigators
  • Fish and Wildlife Investigative and Undercover Techniques Training: Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, GA
  • FBI Small Arms Instructors Training: FBI Training Center
  • Boat Accident Investigation and Advanced Accident Investigation: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Training Center, Harrisburg, PA
  • Wildlife Forensics: Ross Leffler School of Conservation, Harrisburg, PA


  • Fit 2 Serve Testing to assess the physical readiness of public safety professionals and candidates
  • Job Description
  • RI Environmental Police Officer's Association Scholarship Application in Word or PDF