California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Academy Class 60 today added 18 new wildlife officers to the ranks of those who have dedicated their lives to the protection of California’s incredible natural resources.
The graduation ceremony took place Friday, Aug. 11 at the Paradise Performing Arts Center in Paradise. The 18 new wildlife officers will be going directly into CDFW’s Field Training Officer (FTO) program to put their training into practice under the close supervision of experienced FTOs. An additional 12 cadets paid their way through the Academy as “self-sponsors” in the interest of either applying for a law enforcement position with a different law enforcement agency or with CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division.
CDFW is also pleased to announce the recent hiring of four new wildlife officers who left previous full-time peace officer positions to work as wildlife officers. They will receive additional wildlife law enforcement specific training at the Academy prior to beginning their FTO Programs.
“Our cadets and Academy staff have worked tirelessly every day during the duration of the Academy to help develop necessary skills they will need to protect California’s natural resources and the California’s communities for generations to come,” said David Bess, CDFW Chief of Law Enforcement.
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.
In 2008, CDFW teamed with Butte College to provide peace officer academy training for prospective wildlife officers. That partnership provided CDFW a state of the art POST-certified academy facility with 42 years of police training history.
The Law Enforcement Division will be accepting applications through Sept. 30, 2017, for the Academy beginning in January 2019. For more information about becoming a wildlife officer and the application timeline, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career.
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982