The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) has broken ground on a $10 million law enforcement training facility that will cement the agency’s presence at the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Samarcand Training Academy in Moore County.
“This modern training facility will greatly increase our capacity to develop new officers to the highest standards as well as maintain the professional skills required through training of the current and future workforce,” said NCWRC’s Colonel Ben Meyer. “Through this partnership, DPS and NCWRC will continue to better develop and train law enforcement officers who will serve the citizens of North Carolina.”
NCWRC has been training its recruits at Samarcand through a lease agreement with DPS since 2021. The training complex currently includes a firearms training center with two ranges, a range house, a use-of-force firearms simulator and an obstacle and conditioning course. NCWRC’s new additions to the campus include a 20,000-square-foot, multi-floor structure with housing to accommodate approximately 50 NCWRC personnel and includes a 1,200-square-foot classroom and a tactical training room.
Construction will begin later this month just as the number of the state’s wildlife law enforcement staff increases by an additional 16 officers. The N.C. General Assembly approved funding for the additional officers earlier this month. Currently, NCWRC Law Enforcement has 208 wildlife officer positions. This is the first increase in officer staff in 46 years.
“Adding 16 new officer positions to our Wildlife Law Enforcement Division, along with the extra capacity to train officers, will allow us to better protect and conserve our state’s wildlife, habitats and natural resources,” said NCWRC’s Executive Director, Cameron Ingram. “It will allow us to keep our public safe on waterways and lands that everyone enjoys.”
Since the last increase in wildlife law enforcement staff in 1977, North Carolina’s population has increased 87%, annual vessel registrations have increased an additional 194,000 to nearly 371,000 and annual hunting, fishing and trapping licenses sales have increased by more than 200% to177,254.
NCWRC expects the new training facility to be completed by August 2024.
Applications for the next Wildlife Law Enforcement Basic Academy training for current positions will be available May 2024. For information on becoming a NCWRC wildlife officer visit ncwildlife.org.