1501.24 Natural resources officers.

(A) The director of natural resources may appoint natural resources officers for purposes of custodial or patrol service on lands and waters owned, controlled, maintained, or administered by the department of natural resources under Chapters 1503., 1517., 1546., and 1547. of the Revised Code, and waters in this state. The department shall employ a natural resources officer in conformity with the law applicable to the classified service of the state.

(B)

(1) On any lands or waters in this state and on highways adjacent to those lands and waters, a natural resources officer has the authority specified under division (A)(2) of section 2935.03 of the Revised Code for peace officers, including doing both of the following:

(a) Keeping the peace:

(b) Enforcing all laws and rules governing those lands and waters, including sections 1503.01 to 1503.07. sections 1503.12 to 1503.99 : Chapters 1517., 1518., 1546., 1547., 1548., 2925., and 3719. of the Revised Code: and section 3767.32 of the Revised Code and any other laws prohibiting the dumping of refuse into or along waters.

(2) A natural resources officer may serve and execute any citation, summons, warrant, or other process issued with respect to any law that the officer has the authority to enforce.

(3) A natural resources officer shall exercise the authority established under divisions (B)(1) and (2) of this section on lands or waters administered by the division of wildlife only pursuant to an agreement with the chief of that division or pursuant to a request for assistance by an enforcement officer of that division in an emergency.

(4) The jurisdiction of a natural resources officer is concurrent with that of the peace officers of the county, township, or municipal corporation in which a violation occurs.

(C) The governor, upon the recommendation of the director, shall issue to each natural resources officer a commission indicating authority to make arrests as provided in this section.

(D)

(1) A natural resources officer may render assistance to a state or local law enforcement officer at the request of that officer or may render assistance to a state or local law enforcement officer in the event of an emergency.

(2) The service of a natural resources officer outside the authority established under this section or under the terms of a mutual aid compact authorized under section 1501.02 of the Revised Code is considered the performance of services within the officer's regular employment for the purposes of compensation, pension or indemnity fund rights, workers' compensation, and other rights or benefits to which the officer may be entitled as incidents of the officer's regular employment.

(3) A natural resources officer serving outside the authority established under this section or under a mutual aid compact retains personal immunity from civil liability as specified in section 9.86 of the Revised Code and is not considered an employee of a political subdivision for purposes of Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code. A political subdivision that uses a natural resources officer under this section or under the terms of a mutual aid compact authorized under section 1501.02 of the Revised Code is not subject to civil liability under Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code as the result of any action or omission of the officer acting under this section or under a mutual aid compact.

(E) As used in this section "highway" has the same meaning as in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code.

Added by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 293, §1, eff. 9/14/2016.