The law enforcement section of the
Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division has expanded training
to other agencies in and around the state. The expanded training includes
Wilderness Medical Skills training, Search Formations proven by military
tactics, and Man-Tracking Skills.
Carter Hendrix, Assistant Chief of
WFF Law Enforcement, said the agency has been training its own recruits since
“Our instructor cadre came up with
the idea of helping new trainees get a jump-start on their careers by teaching
them vital skills outside the standardized training we do, like firearms
qualifications,” Hendrix said.
The Rural Operations for Law
Enforcement curriculum has been taught around the state to game wardens in
training.The course begins with Wilderness
“Basically, they’re taught to
stabilize an injured person in order to get them to a higher level of care,
either a hospital or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) on the nearest
roadside,” Hendrix said. “It covers everything from stopping blood loss to
constructing improvised methods of carry, like hasty litters and drags. We
construct hasty litters by cutting small trees or poles and use two or three
uniform shirts to carry the injured person on a litter.”
At times, game wardens will help search for missing persons or suspects attempting to flee from law enforcement.
The Search Formations instruction deals with those scenarios.
“We teach working in formation to
search for Alzheimer’s patients, lost hikers and hunters, or sometimes fugitives
attempting to escape in a wilderness terrain,” Hendrix said.
Man-Tracking is the final portion of
“Man-Tracking is exactly what it
sounds like,” Hendrix said. “It’s being able to identify tracks, being able to
locate tracks or signs of any person or animal passing through an area. Signs
could be footprints, broken limbs, trash, or any number of things.
In 2018, Alabama hosted the
annual Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA)
Conference in Mobile. During the conference, WFF Law Enforcement presented a
condensed version of the Rural Operations training to the law enforcement
chiefs from other states at an off-site event in Baldwin County.
“We took them to the Baldwin County
Sheriff’s Department range and shared with them some of the training we were
utilizing as an outreach tool to other sheriff’s departments, police
departments and rescue squads in an effort to share our knowledge and
capabilities with other agencies,” Hendrix said. “They loved the idea and [loved] the
backpacks we issue as go-bags to the officers. The contents of those go-bags
include first-aid kits and blood-loss control items like tourniquets and
granulated blood stop. The officers also take extra ammo, food and water. Some
of the items we mandate for uniformity, and some may be personal preference.”
Hendrix said since the Rural
Operations team has been in existence, it has taught thousands of rescue squad
members. An Alabama team recently went to Pigeon
Forge, Tennessee, to teach the Tennessee Rescue Squad Association.
“We use this as an outreach tool not
only for law enforcement but for people who might never come into contact with
a game warden,” Hendrix said. “Serving the public in numerous ways is vitally
important to us. We want to be seen as more than just what people usually think
game wardens do. We think this is a tool we can use to help accomplish that