Gov. Perry Addresses Graduating Texas Game Wardens
Encourages largest cadet class to ever graduate the academy
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you, Colonel Flores and congratulations on this fine-looking class of law enforcement professionals. They have a confident air that shows they are well-trained and ready to tackle a tough job.
When I look around this chamber and see their families, it is clear where these cadets get their confidence: from the support and encouragement of some great people. To all of you moms and dads, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and children, I want to thank you on behalf of our state for the role you have played in strengthening the ranks of our game wardens.
Cadets, how bout telling your families "thank you" with a little round of applause?
I want to start by saying that it is a real pleasure to see all of you here who wear the green uniform. You represent a remarkable tradition, stretching back into our state's history, of people who have worked long hours and taken significant risk, all to make sure our state's natural resources are protected.
People who love Texas, and respect the law, appreciate all you will do as you fulfill the duties of your office as a game warden. They appreciate you because Texans are intensely proud of their state and its remarkable natural beauty. As such, they understand the role you play in keeping it safe and accessible for all.
With more than 24 million Texans spread across more than 261,000 square miles of land, and nearly 7,000 square miles of inland waters, there are a lot of people who need your best effort.
I am confident that you are equal to the task. After all, you are part of the largest cadet class ever, and the first class to be trained at the new facility in Hamilton County. When you got to the academy, you may not have known a bluegill from a warmouth, but you had something more important: a commitment to serving the people of our state.
Given the quality of your training, the depth of your commitment and the support you enjoy from your families, I have every expectation that you will embrace the proud tradition of Texas Game Wardens, and raise the bar even higher in our state.
You represent a new generation of tech-savvy law enforcement personnel, like those who have caught criminals selling game animal byproducts on the Internet, or used text messages to catch a poacher.
In the years to come, you'll need every item in your toolkit to succeed, from night vision equipment, to DNA testing kits to aviation assets. However, your most valuable assets in the field are your instincts, your academy training and, most of all, your fellow Wardens.
As you report to your new postings, I encourage you to take full advantage of the resources provided by this department, and to rely closely on your fellow game wardens. Their experience, honed by months and years on the job, will be an essential benefit to you as you begin to serve the people of Texas.
That service won't be limited to checking for expired licenses, slot limits or out-of-season game. In the past few years, as our state has poured more resources into defending our international border, Game Wardens have played an increasingly important role in fighting crime.
Right now, as part of Operation Border Star, there are Game Wardens who are not only enforcing game laws, but also using their skills and resources to prevent criminal activity on the border, including drug and human smuggling.
Working alongside Border Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and local law enforcement, Game Wardens are fully integrated into our border security operations and making a big difference. For those of you headed to the border, know that we need you there and thank you in advance for preserving the integrity of our border.
Our Game Wardens also play a critical role in our state when nature shows its ugly side in the form of a hurricane or flood. With your skills in the woods and on the water, you are certain to continue the Game Warden tradition of rescuing people in trouble.
Sometimes, like anyone else who goes in harm's way, Game Wardens need rescuing themselves. When you battle the forces of nature, sometimes there are casualties. When you confront people whose sport involves weapons, you take a calculated but necessary risk. And you do so because you are the sort of person who is willing to take a stand for what is right.
Know that we will continue to do everything in our power to watch your back while you defend the interests of our people, and lift you up in prayer to our Creator as you defend His creation.
Whatever challenges your new job presents, I am confident that your upbringing has prepared you, your training has refined you, and your personal integrity will guide you as you defend the people of our state.
You entered this room as cadets, but will walk out bearing a title rich with honor, history and prestige. Today, you become Game Wardens, earning the respect and admiration of your families, your peers and your governor.
So, today, I salute you, you guardians of Texas resources, and commend you for your willingness to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of our nation and our state.
May God bless you and your families and, through you, may He continue to bless the great State of Texas.
See you in the field.