AUSTIN- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department graduated the 61st Texas game warden and state park police officer cadet class Aug. 1 at the Texas State Capitol. The class included 34 game wardens and seven state park police officers.
Following their seven month preparation at the TPWD Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County, the newly-commissioned state peace officers were recognized during a special ceremony that included a keynote speaker, oath of office and commissioning by senior-level department staff and TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith.
“Every one of you game wardens and park police officers, you’ve got a mighty fine office, and with that mighty fine office comes great privileges and awesome responsibilities,” Smith told the class. “So as you move forward to your charge let me be unambiguous as to what our expectations are of all of you – we the state of Texas, we the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, we the members of the communities where you will live, work, serve and raise your families, always expect you to be pillars of strength and leadership, resolute character and virtue, fair beyond reproach, and unfailing in times of disaster and duress.”
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, but primarily hunting, fishing and water safety regulations. As fully commissioned state 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 state peace officers, provide law enforcement services to the visitors and users of state parks and help enforce laws within their local jurisdictions.
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 506 game wardens and 152 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 and the counties or parks in which they will be stationed:
Texas Game Wardens
Justin A. Amundson – Harris County
Gustavo Armas, Jr. – Travis County
Hani (Raj) Ataya – Orange County
Calvin Atkinson – Zapata County
Coty G. Castro – San Jacinto County
Austin B. Cryer – Shelby County
Javier De Leon, Jr. – Brooks County
Dustin Delgado – Dawson/Borden County
Dillon T. Eizember – Calhoun County
Clinton Gayler – Travis County
Josh J. Gordon – Hale/Floyd County
Richard L. Hays – Brewster County
Kyle P. Hendley – Nueces County
Joseph C. Hendrix – Ward/Loving/Winkler County
Matthew W. Hill – Sabine County
Kirk M. Hornsby – Comanche County
Preston J. Kleman – Lamb/Bailey/Cochran County
William M. Kornelis – Val Verde County
Jared C. Lewis – Zapata County
Charles D. Mauppin, Jr. – Newton County
Jacob H. McMahen – Calhoun County
Michael E. Patrick – Zapata County
Wade H. Pierce – Pecos County
Forrest Price – Terrell County
Derek A. Rennspies – Milam County
Luke A. Richard – San Augustine County
Blake M. Satterfield – Kinney County
Joseph D. Sellers – Red River County
David W. Spangler – Cass County
Ryan D. Stevens – Swisher/Briscoe County
Andrew P. Steward – Harris County
Jimmy R. West – Cass County
Preston L. Whisenhunt – Hood County
Douglas W. White – Aransas County
State Park Police Officers
John C. Barlow – Lake Whitney State Park
Jason Bigham – Huntsville State Park
Kailie C. Branson – Garner State Park
Jade M. Carter – San Angelo State Park
Stephen M. Dishong – Franklin Mountains State Park
Ethan R. Turner – Garner State Park
Jake E. Voigt – Palo Duro Canyon State Park