50th Game Warden Cadet Class Starts

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AUSTIN, Texas — The 50th Game Warden Cadet class started on Jan. 1 and cadets this round come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Meanwhile, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Law Enforcement Division is working to recruit even more Spanish-speaking wardens for another class slated to start in the fall.

Of the 40 cadets who just started, 14 have Criminal Justice degrees and 21 have Wildlife-related degrees. One is an entomologist, one worked Internet crimes in Texas and one was a Nevada Game Warden.

"This is a particularly large class," said Randy Odom, chief of training at the academy. "There is a need to fill the slots left by those who have retired (as part of a statewide incentive last August).

The six-month academy brings the cadets from throughout the state to Austin where they will live until graduation in mid-June. The academy includes 1,200 hours of instruction — including the 576-hour basic peace officer course. Game warden cadet training also includes hunting, fishing, and boating safety regulations, fish and wildlife identification, search and rescue and public speaking. The academy includes field trips to ranches and lakes for training using mock scenarios.

The wardens must also take 16 hours of Spanish as required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, which is the licensing department for peace officers in the state.

The first full week of training included the U.S./Texas Constitutions, Code of Criminal Procedures, swimming, public speaking, and the history of policing/game wardens.

And if you speak Spanish, TPWD needs you for the next class!

Lt. Col. Pete Flores of the TPWD law enforcement division, who is bilingual, says, "The ability to speak a second language is a great tool in a profession that requires the warden to communicate with people of all cultures as they hunt and fish in our state. Spanish is our predominant second language in Texas and an officer that understands the language and the culture is more effective and safe due to the increased ability to communicate. The knowledge of the culture allows the warden to avoid confrontation by recognizing cultural issues that, left ignored, might lead to a potential misunderstanding," he said.

For more information, about becoming a cadet, for information about becoming a Game Warden, call (877) 229-2733 or visit the Web at (http://tpwd.texas.gov/involved/jobvac/gwcadet/).