Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages a wide variety of resources spread over 245 million acres of public lands and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate.  These public land resources include timber, forage, energy and minerals, recreation, wild horse and burro herds, fish and wildlife habitat, wilderness areas, and archaeological and paleontological sites.  The BLM has been given specific resource protection and law enforcement responsibilities that relate to its resource management mission.  There are many federal laws and regulations that relate to public lands and resources.  These laws and regulations are often quite unique in that they apply only to federal lands and have no counterparts in state law.

The BLM fields a force of approximately 200 Law Enforcement Rangers (uniformed officers) and 70 Special Agents (criminal investigators) who enforce a wide range of laws and regulations in the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes affecting public lands resources.  These crimes include mineral resource theft; wilderness area violations; hazardous materials dumping; archaeological and paleontological resource theft and vandalism; cultivation, manufacture, smuggling, and use of illegal drugs; timber, forest product, and native plant theft; off-highway vehicle use; alcohol related crimes; and wildland arson.

The public lands managed by the BLM are predominantly located in the western U.S., including Alaska, and consist of extensive grassland, forest, high mountain, arctic tundra, and desert landscapes. Each of these landscapes has a diversity of resources. As a result, the specific duties of each BLM law enforcement officer can vary considerably. For example, in the southwestern desert, officers may spend a considerable amount of time dealing with large numbers of recreational off-highway vehicle users as well as archaelogical resources crimes; officers along the southern border frequently contend with the effects of illegal border crossing and drug smuggling; officers in urban interface areas encounter a variety of trespass crimes to include arson and hazardous materials dumping; and officers in the northern states regularly deal with marijuana cultivation and illegal commercial outfitting activities.

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