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After seven months of training, the 59th Texas game warden cadet class graduated today, with a new twist. This year marks the first time game wardens and state park police officers trained and graduated together in the same cadet class.
“The entire staff at the Game Warden Training Center is very proud of this next generation of Texas game wardens and state park police,” said Game Warden Tracy Davis, Major at the Game Warden Training Center. “We are confident that each officer will carry out their duties professionally and with the deepest level of commitment and service to the people of Texas, and their natural resources.”
Following their preparation at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County, the 23 newly-commissioned peace officers were recognizedTuesday, during a special ceremony at the Texas State Capitol.
“Since 1895, game wardens have played an integral part in public safety and conservation law enforcement in Texas,” said Colonel Craig Hunter, Law Enforcement Director for TPWD. “We are excited that this graduation marks the first academy where Texas game wardens trained with state park police officers, and congratulate these officers as they embark in the most rewarding careers in law enforcement.”
The graduates will begin their new careers stationed in counties and state parks throughout the state.
The duties of a Texas game warden include the enforcement of all state laws, primarily hunting, fishing, and water safety regulations. As fully commissioned peace officers, they respond to emergencies, assist other law enforcement agencies, and work to educate the public about conservation issues.
State park police, also commissioned peace officers, provide law enforcement services to the visitors and users of state parks, and help enforce laws within their local jurisdictions.
“It is a distinct honor and a historic milestone for this first group of Texas State Park Police cadets to graduate from the Texas Game Warden Academy,” said Brent Leisure, Director of the State Park Division. “This academy is widely recognized as one of the very best conservation law enforcement academies in the country. We are exceptionally proud of the men and women in this cadet class and we have complete confidence in their future success.”
All graduates met the state-mandated requirements for peace officer certification, including criminal and constitutional law, firearms, self-defense, use of force, defensive driving, arrest, search and seizure, ethics, and first aid.
The new wardens and park police are joining the 532 game wardens and 180 park police officers currently in the field, and will help enforce TPWD regulations and carry the department’s high standards to every corner of the state.
These are the new game wardens and park police, their hometowns, and the counties or parks in which they will be stationed: