Merging Law Enforcement Operations at a Field Level

In 1998, over 70% of Florida voters elected to revise the state's Constitution, which, among other things, combined Florida's Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and Marine Fisheries Commission. In July 1999, the merger went into effect creating the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; the largest conservation agency in the nation. This agency is responsible for all wild animal life, fresh water and marine life, and boating safety enforcement in the state of Florida. The largest division in the new agency is the Division of Law Enforcement, which is made up of law enforcement officers of the former Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection's Marine Patrol (more than 700 sworn and nearly 200 non-sworn employees). Facilitating the merger of the 2 separate law enforcement entities created many challenges. This paper will discuss some of the challenges facing the field level and how first-line supervisors and officers in 1 geographical area are addressing those challenges.

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