Once a candidate has successfully completed the rigorous and thorough screening and hiring process and has been selected for employment as a Montana Game Warden, they are in a probationary status for one year while they complete necessary and required trainings and certifications. After completing the probationary period, wardens are moved to a permanent status and participate in a vast amount of scheduled in-service training every year. Finally, FWP offers Game Wardens the opportunity to attend numerous professional development courses throughout their career. Montana Game Wardens are the most highly trained and educated peace officers in Montana.
Initial training is completed through the Montana Law Enforcement Academy by taking the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course - an intensive 12-week program that teaches officers the basics of being a peace officer in Montana. All peace officers in the state must complete this course within 12 months of being hired.
A four-phase, year-long, on-the-job training program designed to teach a probationary warden the basics of conservation law enforcement. New wardens are assigned multiple senior warden Field Training Officers and learn through a combination of observation, participation, mentoring, evaluation and progressively taking on more responsibility. Successful completion of both the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and the Field Training and Evaluation program, is required to maintain employment as a Montana Game Warden.
Game Wardens participate in annual firearms trainings and qualifications. Six different qualifications are required each year. Wardens also participate in a variety of firearms related training. Topics include threat identification, shoot/no shoot scenarios, tactical shooting, and use of force. FWP continuously evaluates its firearms program and strives to bring new and modern firearms training to its officers.
Officer proficiency in non-deadly force situations is critical for both the officer’s safety as well as the public’s safety. Game Wardens receive a minimum of 16 hours of annual training in defensive tactics, use of non-deadly force and ground fighting.
Law enforcement officers in Montana receive police vehicle operators training at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. Montana Game Wardens continue to receive this critical training throughout the rest of their career. The training teaches and refreshes emergency driving skills and methods and techniques for making safe traffic stops.
Wardens are trained in and maintain certifications in basic first aid and CPR with some acquiring more advanced certifications. All game wardens are trained in and are equipped with AEDs in their patrol vehicles.
Montana law enforcement officers are required to maintain their POST certification by completing a set amount of career enhancement training every year. Additional training is required to advance from Basic to Intermediate to advanced to command level certifications and beyond. Career development training includes everything from advanced investigative and law enforcement skills to leadership and management to interview, interrogation, communication and de-escalation skills.