AUSTIN- After seven months of rigorous training, the 60th Texas game warden cadet class graduated today at the Texas State Capitol. The cadet class includes 41 game warden cadets and five state park police officers.
This is the second cadet class with state park police officers training and graduating alongside state game wardens after the two academies were combined last year.
Following their preparation at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County, the newly-commissioned peace officers were recognized during a special ceremony this morning at the Texas State Capitol.
“Today, you are joining a select group of men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect our state’s lands, waters, borders, fish, game, environment, property and our lives,” said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. “The people of Texas will expect you to be pillars of strength and leadership, resolute in character and virtue, fair beyond reproach and unfailing in response in times of disaster and duress. And, when you are called for help, day or night, weekday or weekend, irrespective of the need or the cause or the caller for help, you will go and you will go dutifully.”
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 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.
"We have tremendous confidence in the men and women commissioned and believe they will serve the people of Texas with great distinction,” said Texas State Parks Director Brent Leisure. “These new officers have proven themselves worthy and prepared for the demands they will face."
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 493 game wardens and 170 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:
60th Cadet Class
Texas Game Wardens
Albert A. Alvarez- McKinney, TX- Starr County
Benjamin J. Andrews- Johnson City, NY- Jim Wells County
Stephen R. Boultinghouse- Fort Davis, TX- Jeff Davis County
Kord M. Bradshaw- Garrison, TX- Zapata County
John M. Braesicke- Georgetown, TX- Duval County
Graydon L. Cass- Reno, TX- Reeves County
Daniel Castañeda- Pasadena, TX- Jim Hogg County
Anthony W. Cimini- Wichita Falls, TX- Reeves County
Dillan W. Conley- Tuscola, TX- Mitchell County
Jacob Copeland- Boling, TX- Maverick County
Aidan W. Dietz- San Marcos, TX- Starr County
Dustin L. Favor- Amarillo, TX- Haskell County
Chad R. Goertz- Red Rock, TX- Zapata County
Michael J. Gonzalez- Harlingen, TX- Cameron County
Kegan Gould- Schertz, TX- Webb County
Hollis S. Gregory- Athens, TX- Hall/Childress County
William C. Gulsby- Fort Worth, TX- Hudspeth County
William Hackney III- Tyler, TX- Starr County
William B. Hancock- Bastrop, TX- Presidio County
Hewitt S. Holmes- Ozona, TX- Terrell County
Shane M. Horrocks- College Station, TX- Webb County
Garrison J. Howard- Lubbock, TX- Andrews/Gaines County
Lauren Iles- Brookeland, TX- Webb County
Chelsey A. Kidder- Houston, TX- Hudspeth County
Marcus L. Lowe- Angleton, TX- Zapata County
Patrick I. Merriman- Abilene, TX- Midland/Glasscock County
Andrew J. Meyer- Sylvan Grove, KS- Sherman/Moore County
Casey E. Pentecost- Brownwood, TX- Brewster County
Mark Perez- Olney, TX- Kinney County
David A. Prieto- San Antonio, TX- Maverick County
Carter Rangel- Kemah, TX- Hudspeth County
Welden B. Rappmund- Saint Hedwig, TX- Maverick County
Thomas W. Rinn- Cameron, TX- McMullen County
Juan A. Rosendo- Brownsville, TX- Maverick County
Forrest C. Schmidt- College Station, TX- Grimes County
Britton A. Stuckey- Slaton, TX- Scurry/Garza County
Brandon L. Thacker- Alto, TX- Polk County
Marcus T. Whitworth- Kyle, TX- Webb County
Kevin R. Winters Jr.- San Antonio, TX- Webb County
William K. Yoder- Loving, TX- Pecos County
Mathew Zitterich- Red Oak, TX- Presidio County
State Park Police Officers
Dustin A. Bowers- Henrietta, TX- Lake Arrowhead State Park
Landon G. Cook- Throckmorton, TX- Abilene State Park
Jeremy D. Gann- Woodway, TX- Mother Neff State Park
James R. Hestilow- Del Rio, TX- Seminole Canyon State Park
Jeremy J. Velazquez- Rio Hondo, TX- Lake Casa Blanca State Park