Career in Law Enforcement


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Minimum Requirements

Education: High school graduate.

Experience: None.

Education Substitution: None.

Experience Substitution: None.

Special Requirements: Must be at least 21 years of age and possess or have the ability to obtain a valid Kentucky driver’s license.


The starting salary of Conservation Officer Recruit is $45,050. Upon completion of probation (1 year) and gaining Conservation Officer I rank, a salary increase to $49,668.

In addition, once candidates are Peace Officer Professional Standard certified and complete the KDFWR academy, they will receive a monthly training stipend totaling $4300 annually.

Grade: 12

Probationary Period: 12 Months

Hiring Process

  1. Submit an online employment application to the State Personnel Cabinet’s website: http://careers.ky.gov.
  2. When a position is POSTED, you must self-nominate (apply) for the POSTED job of interest. (Please Note: You can not apply until a position has been posted.)
  3. The balance of the hiring process is as follows:
    • POPS fitness test and KDFWR Law Enforcement swim test
    • Background Investigation​​
    • Interview Board
    • Polygraph Examination, Drug Screen
    • Psychological Assessment, Medical Examination
    • Applicants will be contacted by KDFWR if selected to become a Conservation Officer Recruit

Physical Requirements:

Applicants must complete the POPS Physical Agility Test with an overall minimum of 50 points.

In addition to the POPS Physical Agility Test, applicants must complete a 100-yard swim using the following techniques or any combination thereof: freestyle, breast stroke or side stroke followed by a 10-minute tread immediately followed by retrieving an object from 7 feet of water and returning it to the side of the pool.

For more information on the POPS physical agility test and suggested training, go to Physical Agility Test Prep — Kentucky Law Enforcement Council.

9 pts
9.5 pts 10 pts 10.5 pts 11 pts
Bench Press (% Body Weight)
55.3% 59.7% 64% 59.7% ≥ 73%
Sit Ups (Repetitions 13 16 18 ≥ 19
300 Meter Run (seconds)
68 67 65 < 65
Push Ups (repetitions) 14 17 20 23 ≥ 25
1.5 Mile Run (min:sec)
17:56 17:34 17:12 16:44 ≤ 16:15

Conservation Officer Recruit Pre-Academy PT Program

Conservation Officer Recruit Pre-Academy Swimming Program

DOCJT (Department of Criminal Justice Training) (20 weeks)

Basic police officer training in firearms, defensive tactics, search and seizure, and arrest. Information on the Department of Criminal Justice Academy can be found at What to Expect — DOCJT (ky.gov).

Fish and Wildlife Academy (14 weeks):

  • Firearms
  • Drug Identification
  • Hazardous Devices
  • ASP (Expandable Baton)
  • ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) Patrol
  • 4-wheel Operations
  • Waterfowl Training
  • Krav Maga and Jiu-Jitsu Self-Defense
  • Wildlife Forensics - Necropsy
  • Water Survival
  • Hunting Incident Investigation
  • Boat Operation
  • Boating Under the Influence Investigation
  • Boat Accident Investigations
  • Fish Identification
  • Commercial Fishing
  • Trapping
  • Media Relations
  • Land Navigation
  • Kentucky Revised Statues
  • Kentucky Administrative Regulations

Upon completion of the academies, the cadet will spend 16 weeks of field training with a primary and a secondary Field Training Officer.

Examples of duties and responsibilities

  • Receives required training in general law enforcement, firearms, emergency driving, boating, and fish and wildlife enforcement and management practices, including closely supervised field training
  • Patrols fields, forest lands, streams, lakes and rivers
  • Interprets and enforces state and federal wildlife and boating laws and regulations administered by the agency and other criminal laws of the Commonwealth
  • Observe activities and prevent violations of the law
  • Issues citations to violators and assists senior officers in apprehending violators and making arrests
  • Investigates complaints of violations of wildlife and boating laws
  • Investigate boating accidents, conduct drowning investigations and perform rescue duties
  • Collects and preserves evidence
  • Assimilate, analyze and record data that aids in the identification, apprehension and prosecution of offenders and the recovery of property
  • Prepare cases, present evidence and serve as a witness at hearings and trials
  • Prepare material, conduct and participate in meetings for adult and youth organizations and civic clubs, schools, and other places for the purpose of educating people on fish and wildlife and boating laws in Kentucky
  • Prepare and maintain records and reports on daily, weekly and monthly activity reports
  • Operates various types of law enforcement equipment that includes boats, motors, firearms, cameras, binoculars, two-way radios, and vehicles and has responsibility for the basic maintenance and repair of such equipment 
  • Assist other KDFWR divisions with various tasks as needed including, waterfowl banding, habitat improvement, wildlife surveys and others

Typical working conditions and unique physical requirements:

The majority of time is spent outside. Conditions are consistent with other law enforcement officers. Must have the ability to run, swim, bend, stoop, lift, push and pull heavy objects and individuals. Must be able to be trained in the use of weapons and defensive tactics and in the use of other law enforcement related equipment.

Need Assistance with Applying? ​

If you have any questions or concerns you may call 800-858-1549 or email FW-LErecruiting@ky.gov.

Law Enforcement Boat ATV Law Enforcement Inspecting Equipment Inspiring Youngsters Law Enforcement with Hunters ​​



​​​​​​​​​Frequently Asked Questions​

What does a Conservation Officer do?  

Conservation officers are tasked with protecting our state's natural resources through the enforcement of state laws. Officers enforce all laws of the Commonwealth with a major focus on public safety, specifically on the water. Officers patrol the state using a variety of methods, including vehicles, vessels, ATVs, and side by side. Conservation officers work in all areas of the state, including woods, fields, metropolitan areas, lakes, rivers, and all points in between.