The Leon County Sheriff’s Office Forest Patrol is a specialized unit focused on the law enforcement responsibilities of the agency in the rural and remote areas of Leon County. This unit is currently comprised of a certified deputy and his canine partner.
The unit’s mission is to provide responsive and proactive law enforcement to the remote areas of the county specific to the needs of those areas and individuals.
Among other duties, the Forest Patrol Unit is responsible for all Search and Rescue coordination with the US National Forest Service Search and Rescue Volunteers as well as State Emergency Management. In addition to managing lost person or rescue incidents, Forest Patrol manages the coordinated response to other catastrophic events such as wild fires, floods, nuisance bear and alligator complaints.
Forest Patrol is also tasked with patrolling the hunting camps which can reach up to 400 in occupancy, the parks which on weekends, holidays, and summer break reach up to 800 in attendance. Forest Patrol also patrols the 117 mile ATV trail system enforcing regulations, investigating ATV crashes, and providing safety reports on trail conditions.
Currently the Forest Patrol Unit functions with the assistance of two Federal contracts. The first is from the United States Forest Service to provide law enforcement assistance in specified areas of the National Forest, and the other from the Drug Enforcement Administration to assist in the Eradication of domestically grown marijuana.
The individual in Forest Patrol works closely with these agencies as well as the State Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigating game violations and the State Department of Environmental Protection investigating environmental crimes. Personnel assigned to Forest Patrol receive advanced training in search and rescue, the Incident Command System, federal law enforcement, domestic drug enforcement, and supervision. The Forest Patrol unit works under the direction of the Canine Unit supervisors.