PARADISE - Congratulations to all 23 new law enforcement cadets who graduated from the California Wildlife Officer Academy on Aug. 12, 2016, including 14 who have joined the ranks of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
"This is a very proud moment for any officer, to graduate from the academy, be sworn in and to have a badge pinned on," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "This is a milestone and one they should be very proud of. Congratulations."
Two of the new CDFW officers, both members of CSLEA, had the special honor of being pinned by relatives who are veteran CDFW officers. New CDFW Officer Douglas Wall was pinned by his 25-year veteran wildlife officer Lieutenant Marty Wall. “It’s a proud moment and a true honor to see your son follow in your footsteps, sharing your values and continuing your life’s commitment to protecting California’s wildlife,” said Lt. Wall.
New CDFW Officer Daniel Castillo was pinned by his uncle, 30-year veteran wildlife officer Lieutenant Sam Castillo.
These new wildlife officers have a few additional weeks of formal training before setting out on their first patrols with Field Training Officers (FTOs).
“Our cadets and academy staff have worked extremely hard to develop the skills necessary to protect California’s fish and wildlife, and the public alike,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Chief of Enforcement David Bess. “I am confident they will serve our state well.”
CDFW’s Wildlife Officer Academy is certified through the California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and offers training consistent with every law enforcement agency in California. Field training with experienced FTOs is also mandated by POST to be sure new wildlife officers can apply the skills they learned during the academy to real life circumstances. FTO is the final stage of formal training. Upon successful completion, these officers will begin patrolling California to protect the natural resources of this great state.
Annually, wildlife officers make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations. These officers primarily work alone, in remote areas, contacting subjects who almost always have some form of weapon, and they do so knowing that backup could be hours away. Wildlife officers have large patrol districts and great responsibilities, and frequently a sole officer will cover an entire county. The average California wildlife officer’s patrol district exceeds 500 square miles.
CDFW anticipates the next round of warden cadet selection to begin in September or October of 2016, with the next academy beginning in January 2017. For more information about becoming a wildlife officer and the application timeline, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career.