Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692
Janice Mackey, CDFW Office of Communications, (916) 322-8908
Twenty-eight cadets graduated from the California Wildlife Officer Academy during ceremonies at the Performing Arts Center in Paradise, Calif. on Aug. 23, 2014. The graduating class included 17 sponsored warden cadets who will begin field training immediately. Another 11 self-sponsored cadets paid their way through the academy and have applied to become wildlife officers.
“Today’s wildlife officers have an intensive law enforcement component to their duties,” said Michael P. Carion, Chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division. “Thirty-one weeks of Academy training teaches them how to affect an arrest, maintain officer safety and many other skills.”
Chief Carion personally conducts two days of waterfowl investigation training for the cadets.
The CDFW 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.
The 17 sponsored cadets’ graduation ends 31 weeks of formal academy training, but marks the beginning of an additional three weeks of specialized training and certifications. That will be followed by an additional 15 weeks of field training with a seasoned field training officer (FTO). Upon successful completion of the FTO program, they will go on patrol to protect California’s fish and wildlife resources.
A special moment occurred during graduation when cadet Garreth Brown was awarded the Wildlife Officer Academy’s Greg Cook Award. Cook was the Academy’s first cadet training officer in 1987. He was later killed in a helicopter crash while investigating an oil spill in the Carquinez Strait. The Academy class itself votes to give this award to the fellow cadet who contributed the most to the success of the class as a whole. Brown’s father, recently retired CDFW Wildlife Officer Wilbur Brown, won the same award when he was a cadet. Later in the ceremony, Wilbur Brown pinned Garreth with his wildlife officer badge.
Annually, wildlife officers make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations. They often work alone and in remote areas that do not allow for immediate backup. In California, the average wildlife officer has a patrol district of more than 600 square miles.
CDFW teamed with Butte College in 2007 to provide peace officer training for prospective wardens. This partnership secured an academy facility and a POST-certified training program for wildlife officer cadets on the college’s Oroville campus.
Butte College has a 40-year history of police recruit training. The 928-acre community college campus, the largest in California, is also a designated wildlife refuge.
CDFW is actively hiring warden cadets and is currently accepting applications through Oct. 17. For more information, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/career/index.aspx.