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Seasonal Patrol Officers (Water Patrol and ATV Patrol)

Each summer, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources hires individuals to serve as Water Patrol Officers (WPOs) and ATV Patrol Officers (ATVPOs). These officers patrol Iowa's waterways and shores, and ATV parks and riding areas, respectively, ensuring the safety of recreationists and the protection of resources.   

Seasonal Patrol Officers (SPOs) are temporary, summer employees of the IDNR. As a (temporary) law enforcement officer of the State of Iowa, this is a position of high responsibility.

The SPO's duties are somewhat like the full-time Conservation Officers.   For Water Patrol, these diverse duties include the patrolling of Iowa's lakes and rivers by boat and foot, checking for compliance with Iowa's navigation and fishing regulations and helping to ensure a safe recreational environment for the public. This is where a WPO spends the majority of their time.   For ATV Patrol Officers, it includes patrolling Iowa's ATV parks are riding areas by ATV, motor vehicle, and foot, checking for compliance with Iowa's ATV regulations and helping to ensure a safe recreational environment for the public. This is where an ATVPO spends the majority of their time.

SPOs provide public assistance and safety education through personal contacts and by sometimes participating in the Department's educational programs.

Often, the Seasonal Patrol Officer is the first responder to the scene of emergency situations such as accidents, missing persons, or other calls for enforcement assistance.  After assessing the situation and alerting other officers &/or agencies, the SPO continues to assist investigating officers and rescue personnel.      

When not patrolling, SPOs must maintain their issued patrol vehicles &/or vessels, safety equipment & gear and storage facilities in accordance with directives.
A final component of the job is the completion of required administrative duties (such as activity reports, case information narratives, timesheets, citations, and vehicle/vessel usage records). This type of activity is usually done at the patrol station; in some areas such as northwest Iowa's West Lake Okoboji, that station may be on the water's edge; in others it may be where equipment is stored.

Work Schedule and Pay:
Seasonal Patrol Officers work a 40-hour work week, with two days off per week during the week. The exact schedule varies by location and is assigned by the Supervisor, but Seasonal Patrol Officers work weekends (including all the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, July 4th, & Labor Day) and often evenings, late nights, and in all types of weather.     

Seasonal Patrol Officers are issued the necessary equipment to perform their duties. Boats and machines vary in size and type, depending on the duty station---SPOs are issued all the required safety equipment for their boats, binoculars, ticket books, and a radio and cell phone for communicating with other DNR officers, other law enforcement agencies, and the recreating public.

Personal equipment issued includes uniforms, lifejackets (for WPOs), protective gloves, handcuffs and case, pepper spray & carrier, and Code Books.

Before beginning patrol duties at their assigned areas, SPOs attend approximately 60 hours of formal training, usually held at Camp Dodge near Des Moines. While attending this training, lodging and meals are provided by the Department. This training is provided by the Conservation Officer Instructor/Trainers within the IDNR and by personnel from other state and local law enforcement agencies.
This training includes an intense introduction to defensive tactics, approach skills and tactics, professional communications, administrative responsibilities, and understanding, interpreting, and enforcing the Code of Iowa, especially in relation to navigation, fishing, ATVs, & parks.

Minimum Requirements:  (see also the downloadable information sheet)
  • Miminum Age: 18
  • Valid Motor Vehicle Operator’s License required.
  • Submission to and clearance of a thorough background check.  
  • Graduated from or currently enrolled/on break between semesters of college, or about to enter first semester of college from high school.
  • Ability to work alone, with  the public, in a law enforcement capacity, in all conditions, on weekends, and including holidays, nights, and evenings. 
The following are POTENTIAL positions that MAY be available.  Only indicate on your application those that you are willing and able to work; i.e. only those areas that you would accept employment if offered.

Water Patrol
   STORM LAKE (in Buena Vista County) (NW IOWA)
   BLACK HAWK LAKE (in Sac County) (NW IOWA)
   NORTH TWIN LAKE (in Calhoun County) (NW IOWA)
   MANCHESTER AREA (in Delaware County) (NE IOWA)
   MISSISSIPPI RIVER Pool 11 @ DUBUQUE (Dubuque County) (NE IOWA)
   MISSISSIPPI RIVER Pool 12 @ BELLEVUE (Jackson County) (NE IOWA)
   CLEAR LAKE @ (in Cerro Gordo County) (NC IOWA)
   MISSOURI RIVER/LAKE MANAWA (in Pottawattamie County) (SW IOWA)
   MISSOURI RIVER/CARTER LAKE (in Pottawattamie County) (SW IOWA)
   MISSISSIPPI RIVER @ MONTROSE (in Des Moines and Lee Counties) (SE IOWA)
   MISSISSIPPI RIVER @ FAIRPORT (Muscatine and Louisa Counties) (SE IOWA)
   LAKE RATHBUN (in Appanoose County) (SC IOWA)
   LAKE REDROCK (in Marion County) (SC IOWA)

ATV Patrol
   Lakeview-Ely (in Johnson County) (SE IOWA)
   Ft Dodge - Marshalltown (in Webster and Marshall Counties) (NC IOWA)
   Rathbun - Bluff Creek (in Appanoose and Mahaska Counties) (SC IOWA)
   Council Bluffs (in Pottawattamie County) (SW IOWA)
   Waterloo – Tama (in Black Hawk and Tama Counties) (NE IOWA)


The application period is now CLOSED. Please check back in Fall 2014 for Summer 2015 status and possible applications.