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‘Most Diverse Game Warden Class Ever’ Starts
AUSTIN, Texas – The 51st Game Warden Cadet Class, which reported for duty Jan. 2, is the most diverse group of game warden cadets the state has ever had.
“We are pleased and proud to present a class that best represents the overall population of Texas,” said Col. James Stinebaugh, director of law enforcement at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The class consists of one Asian, three African Americans, 10 Hispanics, 12 females, and 14 white males. The educational background for these individuals is as follows: 16 received degrees in Biology/Science; 14 in Criminal Justice or a related field; six in the Human Sciences; two in Finance/Economics; one in English and one in Interdisciplinary Studies. The diverse class can be attributed to an increase in TPWD’s overall recruitment efforts this past year.
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.
This class includes an Iraq war veteran, a former NFL player, a housewife, a former member of the Department of Public Safety’s narcotics task force and a woman who worked on a Wildlife Management area in South Africa. It also includes a surfer and a stock broker, to name a few of their backgrounds.
The six-month academy brings the cadets from throughout the state to Austin where they will live until graduation on July 1. The academy includes 1,200 hours of instruction — including the 618-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 agency 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.
For more information about becoming a cadet, call (877) 229-2733
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