Al a.k.a. Al DeLaCruz is STAG’s Director of Training, a Legacy Instructor and éminence grise within the natural resource protection and tactical law enforcement community. Over the course of fifty years of public service, Al’s dedication and contributions in the areas of natural resource protection, law enforcement, investigations, and physical training has literally provided generations of LEO’s, rangers and special agents with the knowledge, skills and physical abilities necessary to operate safely and efficaciously in the field setting.
A veteran of the US Navy, the Vietnam War, the US Forest Service, the National Park Service (NPS), a FLETC instructor, avid hunter and outdoorsman, Al’s commitment to natural resource security and security issues in general, has been a lifelong pursuit.
Al entered the US Navy in 1965 and was deployed to Vietnam later that year, supporting operations in Da Nang, Cam Rahn Bay and Vung Tau. Al was honorably discharged in 1971.
Al entered college and began a program in parks and recreation management leading to service as a crew leader with the U.S. Forest Service’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), supervising crews in timber stand improvement, creek stabilization and trail building projects, in addition to serving as a crew member on a wildland fire engine.
Al began working for the NPS shortly before and during his attendance at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA where in 1979 he earned a degree in Natural Resource Management.
During a quarter century spent with the NPS Al worked as a SAR Coordinator, Wildland Firefighter, Crew Boss and Crew Representative, Park Ranger, Supervisory Park Ranger, Special Agent, and ARPA Task Force Agent overseeing and coordinating archeological resource crime investigations out of Santa Fe, NM.
Al was appointed as the first Special Agent ever assigned to Sequoia National Park in 1995. Al oversaw and supported ranger operations, led the law enforcement training program, conducted criminal and internal investigations and became a subject matter expert in the area of organized, illicit, marijuana cultivation on public lands. Al worked on complex homicide cases, suicides and accidental deaths both in Sequoia and on other NPS sites during these years.
In June 1996, Al was the primary investigator in a search and rescue operation for Randy Morgenson, a missing Sequoia backcountry ranger. The search effort, documented in the national media, and since turned into a made-
Following his retirement from the NPS in 2004 Al joined the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) as a Law Enforcement Specialist (Instructor) in Artesia, NM. Al provided instruction and course development for basic and advanced training programs, including classroom lectures and practical exercises. Al’s love of physical training saw him working throughout his 60’s as an instructor in physical conditioning, officer response tactics, arrest techniques, threat assessment, clearing hands procedures, handcuffing, frisks, systematic searches, weapon recovery, expandable baton, ground defense/takedowns and participation in the Practical Applications Team (PAT) trainee evaluation processes.
It was during this time that Al, working with other instructors, helped to introduce the Backcountry Tactical Tracking Training Program (BTTTP) to teach the fundamentals of cross-
Al’s work over the last several decades has been documented by The Discovery Channel, CBS News, The Christian Science Monitor, Men’s Journal, German Public Television, CNN, and a host of other media outlets.