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State Park Police celebrate 50 years

TPWD officers quietly keep parks and visitors safe.


Since 1971, a special group of law enforcement officers has been responsible for the safety, security and protection of the natural jewels in Texas and those who visit them.

As the blue badges of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (often confused with Texas game wardens), State Park Police quietly and humbly protect the state’s natural and cultural resources through community-oriented policing and emergency response. In 2021, they celebrate a half-century of providing safe and secure environments for 10 million state park visitors annually.

State Park Police are on patrol every day along the coast, in the forests and mountains, in the desert, in cities and on the border. In basic terms, they protect the unique resources of the parks and ensure that all visitors can enjoy them safely and responsibly. 
 
In 1971, a dozen carefully selected volunteers started the evolution to what is now the State Park Police. Today, the number has grown to approximately 140 highly trained police officers.
 
“Called by different names and shouldering different patches on different uniforms, the police officers of the State Parks Division have been forged by challenge and change,” says State Park Police Major Doug Huggins. “The 50th anniversary is a significant milestone and the perfect time to shine a light on a vital part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the history of the great state of Texas.”  

Never knowing what each day may bring, State Park Police serve with honor, dedication, heroism and even an often-welcomed sense of humor. Look for their stories of setbacks, successes and growth in our December issue and on TPWD social media.

 Doug Huggins   Chase Fountain | TPWD

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