LDWF Enforcement Division welcomes 19 new agents at graduation

Front row from left to right: Col. Chad Hebert, Lt. Col. Rachel Zechenelly, William Callegari, Joel Moncada-Rubio, John Stansbury, Nicholas Ortego, Grayson Parker, Rebecca Bercegeay, Callie Pitre, Ernest Reynolds, Kyle Volentine, and Lt. Ladd Turner. Back row from left to right: Capt. Lance Devillier, Jake Fowler, Trevor Benoit, Darrel Causey, Joshua Schilling, Ethan Arbour, Zachary Spillers, Zachary Funderburk, Dustin Slade, Jimmie Daniel, and Major Clay Marques. (Photo courtesy LDWF)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy graduated its 35th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of training at the academy, 19 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 Jack Montoucet was the keynote speaker at the graduation and told the cadets, “I congratulate each cadet for a job well done. While you have proven to be dedicated and impressive individuals, I know you have learned that you are best when working as a team. That’s my message and I could not be prouder of you. I pray that you will be safe today, tomorrow and forever.”

Col. Chad Hebert reciting the Oath of Office to the graduating cadets. (Photo courtesy LDWF)

Col. Chad Hebert, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadet’s transition to commissioned agents official.  “These 19 cadets have proven they are ready for the next step in their careers after completing our six month training academy.  We hope they all have long and successful careers as agents,” said Col. Hebert.

The 19 new agents are:

  • Zachary Funderburk, of Bossier City, assigned to Webster Parish
  • Ernest Reynolds, of Winnsboro, assigned to Tensas Parish
  • Zachary Spillers, of Farmerville, assigned to Morehouse Parish
  • Darrel Causey, of Glenmora, assigned to Avoyelles Parish
  • Nicholas Ortego, of Pine Prairie, assigned to LaSalle Parish
  • Callie Pitre, of Ville Platte, assigned to Avoyelles Parish
  • Rebecca Bercegeay, of Lafayette, assigned to Lafayette Parish
  • William Callegari, of Cypress, Texas, assigned to Calcasieu Parish
  • Trevor Benoit, of New Iberia, assigned to St. Mary Parish
  • John Stansbury, of Lafayette, assigned to St. Mary Parish
  • Joel Moncada-Rubio, of Glenmora, assigned to St. Mary Parish
  • Kyle Volentine, of Baton Rouge, assigned to Lafourche Parish
  • Ethan Arbour, of Denham Springs, assigned to Ascension Parish
  • Jake Fowler, of Kentwood, assigned to Tangipahoa Parish
  • Grayson Parker, of Lake Providence, assigned to Washington Parish
  • Dustin Slade, of Covington, assigned to St. Tammany Parish
  • Jimmie Daniel, of Madisonville, assigned to Jefferson Parish
  • Joshua Schilling, of Metairie, assigned to Plaquemines Parish
  • Austin Wiles, of Mandeville, assigned to St. Bernard Parish

During the graduation ceremony, Reynolds was awarded the physical fitness award for scoring the highest on the physical fitness assessment test. Stansbury received the firearms award for the best marksman in the class. Arbour received the academic award for having the highest grades. Arbour 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.