BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy announced the graduation of its 30th 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, nine 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 Charlie Melancon was the keynote speaker at today's ceremony. "We feel that the six months of training you received in the academy will make you an outstanding agent in the field," said Melancon as he addressed the class. "The job you hold is very important as you are the last line of defense in ensuring our wildlife and fishery management plans are carried out so that future generations can enjoy everything Louisiana has to offer."
Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets' transition to commissioned agents official. "We welcome these cadets into the Enforcement Division ranks. They will now shift into phase two of their careers as they get real hands on experience during the next six months when they are assigned to a field training officer in their respective regions."
The nine new agents are:
Michael Cook, 29, of Shreveport, assigned to Caddo Parish
Joshua DiBenedetto, 30, of Winnfield, assigned to Winn Parish
James Gregory, 28, of Hornbeck, assigned to Vernon Parish
Tib Guillory, 24, of Ville Platte, assigned to Allen Parish
Steven Jackson, 27, of Pontchatoula, assigned to St. James Parish
Austin Landry, 22, of Metairie, assigned to St. Charles Parish
Joshua Laviolette, 31, of Metairie, assigned to Jefferson Parish
Joshua LeBouef, 27, of Baton Rouge, assigned to East Baton Rouge Parish
Jared Riddle, 23, of Baker, assigned to Catahoula Parish
During the graduation ceremony, Landry received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class. Laviolette received the physical training award for being the most fit. Jackson received the academic award for having the highest grades. Laviolette 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.