L.D.W.F. Enforcement Division Academy Cadets Become Commissioned Agents At Graduation Ceremony

Release Date: 02/16/2011

To request high resolution version of photo, please email aeinck@wlf.la.gov

(Back row from left to right: Brandon Fontenot, Kurt Hatten, Charles Taylor, Mitchell Saunders, Michael Marques, Kenneth Robertson, Jake Darden, and Justin Lowry.  Front row from left to right: Chadwick Wood, Dale Wheat, Andrew Mitchell, Charles Talbert, Norman Deroche, Cody Soileau, and Adam Tieben.)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, Feb. 16, graduated its 26th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 15 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water,” Barham noted. “Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today.”

Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official. “We welcome them into the ranks and hope they all have long and successful careers as wildlife and fisheries enforcement agents,” said Col. Vidrine.

The 15 new agents are:

Jake Darden, 23, of Chitimacha; Norman Deroche III, 28, of Schriever; Brandon Fontenot, 25, of Sunset; Kurt Hatten, 23, of Dodson; Justin Lowry, 27, of Jennings; Michael Marques Jr., 34, of Slidell; Andrew Mitchell, 23, of Hornbeck; Kenneth Robertson, 25, of Monroe; Mitchell Saunders, 24, of Hammond; Cody Soileau, 26, of Lake Charles; Charles Talbert, 30, of Sulphur; Jared Taylor, 26, of Norco; Adam Tieben, 27, of Lafayette; Dale Wheat Jr., 25, of Baton Rouge; and Chadwick Wood, 28, of Boyce.

During the graduation ceremony, Lowry received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class and the academic award for having the highest grades. Fontenot took home the physical training award for being the most fit. Lowry also won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas. The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty. Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations. These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.