CCA and Game Warden Interns

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January 3, 2023

For more than 125 years, Texas Game Wardens have watched over the lands, waters, wildlife, and people of Texas. Every year Texas Game Wardens patrol over 10 million miles by vehicle and 130,000 hours by boat, facing challenges as unique as the 254 counties they serve. With 550+ commissioned peace officers throughout the state, game wardens tirelessly lead the way in critical search and rescue operations; render aid during times of natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires; and provide conservation enforcement and education for fishing, hunting, and boating.

Game wardens receive intensive training in a broad spectrum of topics such as conservation, criminal justice, water safety, penal code, and environmental laws. They are widely recognized as the best-trained corps of conservation officers in the nation and provide an invaluable service to the people of Texas.

Law Enforcement Interns

The goal of the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) internship program is to increase opportunities for qualified students to gain invaluable insight and experience in the field of natural resource conservation. To accomplish this goal, the internship program provides talented Texas college students with paid internships at TPWD through funding secured by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF). These internships allow students to put their classroom knowledge to work, study more about the practical applications of the work in their field, and prepare for careers in their chosen fields.

At the beginning of the internship experience, each law enforcement intern attends an orientation at the 200-acre, state-of-the-art Game Warden Training Center and trains with Texas Game Wardens before entering the field. Once in the field, each game warden intern is assigned to observe and assist licensed game wardens in their regular duties, ranging from law enforcement to public safety and education. They work 20 hours per week for 10 weeks during the summer, with an allowance for additional hours needed to work emergency situations or prolonged investigations.

Interns gain experience in a wide variety of unscripted, real-time circumstances including boating and safety enforcement, search and rescue, fishing rules and regulations, and common techniques employed by poachers. In addition, they increase their knowledge of wildlife biology. In 2022, TPWD was able to hire a total of 16 law enforcement interns, including 6 coastal interns stationed all along our coastal communities, thanks to continued funding from the Coastal Conservation Association.

Since the program began, interns have regularly gone on to become Texas Game Wardens. According to Program Coordinator Lt. Rachel Kellner, on average, six to eight cadets in every class of the Texas Game Warden Academy are former interns. Lt. Kellner sees this program as TPWD’s single best recruitment tool in the Law Enforcement Division. Being a former intern herself, she has witnessed firsthand the indelible effect the program has on potential cadets. The program continues to harvest Texas’ brightest and most impassioned recruits.

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