The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) 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.  

According to a TPWD press release, following their seven month preparation at the 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

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