California Department of Parks and Recreation

04/15/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2024 16:13

California State Parks Honors its Newest Peace Officers at Law Enforcement Academy Graduation Ceremony

For Immediate Release: 4/15/2024

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California State Parks graduated 17 cadets in Paradise, California, on Friday, April 12, who will "Live the Parks Life" as rangers and lifeguards in the country's largest state park system. From the program's beginning on September 5, 2023, this class has stayed committed to their responsibility as keepers of the state's most valuable natural and cultural resources as they advance to the next stage of their careers. Their class motto is "Live with honor, serve with pride."

California State Parks Director Armando Quintero spoke to the graduating class about seeing the devastating impacts of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire at Big Basin Redwoods State Parks, the bravery of the State Parks Peace Officers and staff, and the challenges of climate change.

"While the challenges we face right now are almost unpredictable, what is predictable is the teamwork of your colleagues, all watching each other's backs," said Quintero. "Embrace your role as guardians of this natural heritage, protectors of public safety, and champions of conservation as you will be making a positive difference in many lives."

The cadets attended the Basic Visitor Service Training (BVST) Academy for 32 weeks. They received their badges and formally became State Park Peace Officers (Rangers and Lifeguards), with their family, friends, and department staff serving as their audience both in person and remotely.

As peace officers, they will serve, protect, and educate visitors to California's 280 state parks, while protecting the state's most significant natural and cultural resources. This year's class of 17 cadets (14 rangers and 3 lifeguards) was chosen from a field of approximately 388 applicants.

Graduates of this class will be stationed throughout the state, such as in the North Coast Redwoods, Central Valley, Santa Cruz, Orange Coast, and Inland Empire districts.

Cadet training included lessons in strategic communication, physical arrests, investigations, search and rescue operations, defensive tactics, de-escalation, and firearms use. Cadets also received training in visitor services, public education and interpretation, park resource protection and management, and first aid. Students are mentally, morally, emotionally, and physically prepared to enter and successfully complete the Field Training Officer Program, which consists of 13 weeks of on-the-job training.

Want to "Live the Parks Life"?
For more information on the academy and minimum requirements, including frequently asked questions and a general timeline of the recruitment cycle, please visit and click on the "CA State Park Peace Officer Cadet Academy Exams (Ranger/Lifeguard)" link.

Top: California State Parks' newest Peace Officers graduate in Paradise, California, on April 12, 2024. Bottom left: The graduating class recites the Peace Officer Oath. Bottom middle: State Parks Chief Law Enforcement Officer Jason De Wall badges new State Park Peace Officer (SPPO) Ranger Chelsea Dulaney. Bottom right: SPPO Lifeguard Hunter Bowman is badged by his wife, a Costa Mesa Police Officer. Photos from California State Parks.

Assigned locations for the graduating class of Basic Visitor Services Training (BVST) 49.


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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.