Game Warden Cadets to Graduate from Butte College

More than two dozen men and women are set to graduate from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) law enforcement academy on Friday, Aug. 12. The graduation ceremony in Butte County will mark the start of their careers as game wardens, tasked with preserving and protecting the natural resources and wildlife of California.

The class of 39 features 28 DFG warden cadets (those sponsored by DFG and already hired as wardens pending their passing the academy) and 11 cadets who are “self-sponsored” (individuals who paid their way through the academy with the hope of becoming game wardens once their training is complete). The graduation ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. at the Paradise Performing Arts Center in Paradise, Calif.

“I am personally very proud of every one of these cadets, they represent the department to the hunting and fishing community while protecting valuable natural resources,” said DFG Chief of Enforcement Nancy Foley. “They will work alongside some of the most dedicated and highly trained law enforcement officers in the state.”

Annually, wardens 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 protection.
In California, with 159,000 square miles of area that offers habitat and wildlife diversity unequaled by any other state, the average warden has a patrol district of more than 600 square miles. The state has more than 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs, three desert habitat areas and scores of high mountain peaks.

The warden often acts as arbitrator for issues involving conflicts between wildlife and people. They recommend recreational activities and serve as educators to the public by speaking to schools, service groups and media.

The following are the graduating cadets and their hometowns.

Thomas Anderson Arroyo Grande
Timothy Bolla Winters
Jennifer Bretney* Corning
Christopher Cahill Elk Grove
Eric Craig Bakersfield
Steven Crowl Cottonwood
Kevin DeRose Visalia
Zachary Gibson* Cottonwood
Chris Giertych* San Jose
Michael Harris Del Rey Oaks
Michael Higgins* Atascadero
Rodger Holscher* McArthur
Travis Jarrett* Palo Cedro
Jacob Juarez Monterey
Ryan Keylock Sacramento
Kevin Kintz Port Hueneme
Benjamin Matias Huntington Beach
Mike McCain Escondido
Atilano Morales Los Angeles
Scott Moss Merced
Bert Olson San Clemente
Alan Oratovsky Los Angeles
Jerry Prater Sacramento
John Pritting San Diego
Mark Ratley Roseville
Matthew Renner Ferndale
Andrew Ross Rocklin
Russo Anthony Sacramento
Kenneth Snyder Escondido
Nicholas Spiess* Chico
Cory Stewart Sacramento
Jared Strouss Atascadero
Kevin Sullivan* Morgan Hill
Todd VanEpps San Diego
Robert Wardlow Torrance
Donald White* Willits
Martin Willis San Luis Obispo
William Witzel Elk Grove
Paul Zurawski Hawthorne

* Self Sponsored

DFG teamed with Butte College in 2007 to provide peace officer training for prospective wardens. This new partnership secured an academy facility and a California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified training program for warden cadets on the college’s Oroville campus. Butte College has a 39-year history of police recruit training and has trained more than 5,000 students through its law enforcement academy. The 928-acre campus, the largest in California, is also a designated wildlife refuge.

-from press release

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