Thirteen cadets have completed 901 hours of intensive training to become wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Included in this new crop of cadets is Richard Hawkins of Imboden, who will be assigned to Lawrence County; Douglas Small of Norfork, assigned to Baxter County and William Warner of Fort Smith who will be stationed in Izard County.
The group studied at the H.C. "Red" Morris Training Center east of Mayflower on Lake Conway. Graduation ceremonies for the 2004 cadet class took place May 28 at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Training administrator Capt. Terry McGuire and wildlife officer Shawn Smith directed the cadet-training program. Several commission enforcement officers, staff members and other law enforcement personnel served as instructors. Other experts participated in the teaching of specialized topics. The 13 cadets were chosen from more than 300 applicants. Requirements for wildlife officer cadets include a college degree and/or law enforcement experience.
The 19-week training course includes police fundamentals as related to wildlife work, training in proficiency with a variety of firearms, first aid and rescue basics, drug enforcement procedures and physical conditioning. The new wildlife officers have state commissions as officers with full police authority, as do the other 150-plus wildlife officers of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Assignment of the new officers will fill several existing vacancies in the commission's enforcement ranks. They will be assigned to wildlife officer positions around the state, working at first under experienced officers.
Other 2004 graduates, their hometowns and county assignments are:
Ronald Cossey, Newport, Jackson County.
Michael Ditto, Walnut Ridge, Monroe County.
Michael Gray, Rison, Scott County.
Scott Handford, Fairfield Bay, Cleburne County.
Marcus McGough, Prescott, St. Francis County.
Joseph McSherry, Conway, Arkansas County.
James Nast, Batesville, Independence County.
Ander Pickens, Star City, Lincoln County.
Kenneth Ward, Russellville, Crittenden County.
Ronnie White, Kirby, Hempstead County.