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Undertrained, Overcommitted, and in Danger: A Needs Assessment of Wildlife Officers In Nevada and Utah
AuthorPickering, Jordan C.
AdvisorLeone, Matthew C.
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Wildlife officers regularly face dangers associated with their occupation. Those officers employed in Mountain West states, such as Nevada and Utah, encounter occupational dangers specific to this large, sparsely populated region of the United States. Wildlife officers frequently patrol alone, and consequently are almost always out-numbered by potential suspects should a violent encounter ensue. Given that they commonly interact with hunters or fishermen in wild land areas, they are virtually always interacting with armed individuals. In an attempt to better understand the nature and degree of the dangers these officers face, five focus groups were conducted with wildlife officers employed in Nevada and Utah. Officers were asked a series of questions regarding job training, professional duties, and occupational dangers. They were also asked to offer suggestions to reduce the danger associated with their jobs. The data collected, as well as potential solutions, are discussed.