Thursday, January 09, 2014

Game warden SWAT team?

Why in heaven's name does the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department need its own SWAT team? Does the guy in this photo look like he's prepared to perform any task you traditionally associate with a game warden? Wrote William Norman Grigg at LewRockwell.com:
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has a newly minted SWAT team. To be sure, the agency maintains that this “cadre of specialty teams” will focus on search-and-rescue missions. However, the way Game Warden Cullen Stakes is dressed in the photo above makes it pretty clear that he’s not getting ready to rescue people who have been stranded by floods, or have gotten lost in the woods.

Among the TPWD’s specialized units is the “Scout Team,” a group of 25 wardens who “have received a variety of training and can be used in border operations, dignitary protection, or any form of high-risk law enforcement, such as serving felony arrests or hostage situations,” explains Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.

“We can have a team anywhere in Texas in four hours, and that’s the worst-case scenario,” boasts Law Enforcement Special Operations Chief Grahme Jones. “A lot of times it’s much faster.”
Ridiculous. There's nowhere in the state where TPWD couldn't call in local SWAT if they needed it. Utterly absurd, and pointless.

34 comments:

Scott Dickson said...

It's not like a state law enforcement agency (DPS) doesn't already have a SWAT team.

Seems kind of redundant.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think we need enough SWAT teams to cover banks, schools and conveinence stores as well as zap poachers (those poachers use assault weapons, presumably to counter game wardens)
The next step in SWAT is rapid response armored units ...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

In the words of David Lee Roth, "Everybody wants some, I want some too."

All the cool kids are doing it ...

Anonymous said...

You guys honestly just don't get it at all. Every law enforcement agency in the entire USA is preparing for major civil unrest during the next decade. I think a lot of your problem is that you focus your reading sources on the state of Texas and are basically getting the smaller picture. Expand your horizons and start reading out-of-state news and be sure to read the comment sections. Law enforcement is certainly reading the comments, they know what's coming, maybe you should too.

Gadfly said...

Find a trace of pot in a poacher's car and start the asset forfeiture proceedings!

And, @Anon 8:21 ... uhh, does this mean you're looking at being part of that? Expecting that the True Amurkans(TM) are going to take violent action against the Kenyan Socialist, or what?

Anonymous said...

I'm new to Texas and I've been working in local government for a couple of years now. I've definitely noticed a general sense of "we're prepared for the zombie apocalypse, gosh darn it!" from not just the law enforcement but even the staff.

Anonymous said...

@Grits, and speaking of kids. Chief Grahme Jones must have watched Zero Dark Thirty and wanted to be like seal team 6 so bad, tantrums were thrown until it happened.

Anonymous said...

"Search and rescue?... That's no fun, I wanna go after bad guys. What? No bad guy? Can we pretend there is one?" Sure, why not.

Amber said...

Hi, I am a close family friend of Henry (Hank) Goedrich Magee, he is currently being held in the Washington County jail in Brenham, TX and charged with capital murder.. HE is the victim of a botched no knock raid on his home. The deceased sheriff that requested the no knock warrant received false information from someone he had recently arrested.. We are trying to get support and fight this with whatever we can, we have been researching and we are seeing that these no knock tragedies are happening all over the country.. We are asking for any help/support we can get, he is a good man, we have created a support group and a blog page for updates and contact information.. He is a good person and does not deserve to be in jail right now.. His story is eerily resembling the Matthew Stewart case, Cory Maye and so many others! Please help us, I'm reaching out to everyone we possibly can, below are links to a few of the articles out now..

support group on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/720261987991455/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/23/henry-goedrich-magee-_n_4494527.html

http://www.coachisright.com/tag/henry-goedrich-magee/

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/dec/24/texas_deputy_killed_dawn_noknock

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Game Wardens are frequently called upon to kick in a door when other law enforcement agencies cannot. Sort of a way to bypasses the warrant process, so to speak. You can't do that with another law enforcement agency swat team. Ergo you need to have a "Game Warden" SWAT team to do the bidding of other law enforcement.

Elvis said...

TPWD has seen DPS's core duties expand beyond what their duties were 5 to 10 years ago. TPWD wants in on this action and funding. It seems unnecessary as DPS already performs functions like dignitary protection, border operations, and other forms of high risk law enforcement including serving felony arrest warrants.

Lee said...

Amber I empathize with you and understand that 90% of Americans would have responded to the sounds of intruders in the same way that Mr. Magee did (I know that my dad would have done the same thing). Unfortunately the state sees that he is responsible for the death on a cop which means that he will have to watch his back well while in custody and his prior criminal record (even one so small) mill be a hurdle to overcome. The good news is that his lawyer is Dick Deguerin and he is among the most experienced in the business. The other better news is that the 4 firearms seized in the home were all legally owned and the best news is that his guilt will be determined by a jury of homeowners pooled from the 90% of Americans that would have done the same thing that he did.

Anonymous said...

Per Anon 2:29 could someone explain how fin and feather types are being used in lieu of other LE units obtaining a search warrant? How are the fin and feather folks legally justifying their actions in lieu of a warrant? Thanks.

Elvis said...

I presume 2:29 is referring to TPWD ability to search items that contain or could contain game under the pretense they have the authority to do so.

Anonymous said...

This is just as bad if not worse than County Constables having SWAT teams. Tarrant County has a joint unit made up of the different precincts. Now why on Earth would a county constable need a SWAT team to serve eviction papers, subpoenas, and other writs? Seems like a waste of resources and tax payer money when many other cities in the county have SWAT teams.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't Barney Fife have loved to have all that stuff to play with? Actually, the guy in the picture looks a little like Barney.

Anonymous said...

Is that dude going duck hunting or what?

Simon Haskell said...

I took a hunter safety course a few years ago and a game warden came in and explained some of the hunting laws, etc. But he was real excited to tell us about his law enforcement arrests and it seemed to me that he always wanted to be a big city cop, but was unable to.

Anonymous said...

At the end of Nov 2013, I was in Port Aransas and saw the two 65 foot boats marked "Texas Game Warden". As a boater, sportsman, and sailor, I feel betrayed by TPWD. They have pissed away the fees collected from us and used them on usless govt fluff. Let the layers and layers of other alphabet agencies do their jobs and not take advantage of the citizens of Texas to fund these fantasies of law enforcement. Also for the record, the DPS gunboats are more of this same BS.

Anonymous said...

Just plain stupid this is. Their mission is conservation, not public safety. This agency needs a reset like they did to TABC.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so far 19 dropped in and a few came back to see what others had to offer and as of right now no one hit the nail squarely on the head.

IMHO, here is the answer to the Question -

'Veterans' (former & current) and Law Enforcement (former, current & gypsies) are all highly trained, armed with weapons (issued & personal), some being unemployed, looking for adventure or fired. What do you do with this segment of the population? You utilize them to the fullest potential and that includes inserting them into uniforms. The uniforms of all uniforms having the most power is the Game Warden.

They have the power to go into the president's closet if there is a claim that there is illegal booty. So, with the Game Warden niche being one of the ones that don't have a SWAT Team, it only makes sense that they put in a application for some of the military surplus. The next photo to crop up will be of their cool toys (tanks and APCs along with piles of dope and oysters (along with footage of a shoot out or two with people having M-16s) they confiscated justifying the - wait for it . . . . .

Militarization of Law Enforcement, having not one damn thing to do with zombies, race baiting wars and drugs. Having everything to do with keeping the US crowd one step ahead of the Them crowd. We deserve what we allow and allow what we are afraid of. I'm more worried about the trigger happy shell shocked PTSD diagnosed armed employees (power tripping post office, animal control and cops) with fingers in the death holes than the punk-ass criminals holding guns at 45 to 90 degree angles. Those thinking about going fishing, hunting or shopping for Game related items will be in the headlines of tomorrow as the ones justifiably riddled full of uncountable holes over slapping a mosquito or pulling up their pants taken as a furtive move slash gesture.

Anonymous said...

At least he has a body camera like a few of you think will solve all ills...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"solve all ills"?

Hardly. At best, bodycams are at best a step in the right direction. In this case, one step forward, six steps back.

albeed said...

Caption:

Where is that wascally wabbit?

Bean Counter said...

While I have my doubts about the increasing numbers of SWAT-trained cadres out there, let me remind everyone that unlike their counterparts in other aspects of law enforcement, game wardens often deal with people that are in immediate possession of high powered weaponry. Contrast their use in serving related warrants for weapons violations with big city departments that send out swat teams to serve domestic abuse warrants, most without a weapon related charge.

There are a great many reasons why having your own swat team is better than relying on one from another agency too, availability, control over how a situation is handled, and who bears the brunt of liability when things go wrong come to mind. Ask Harris County why they instituted a swat team when Houston's is recognized as one of the best in the state, if not country, because they had a laundry list of reasons at their press confrence awhile back.

In general though, some of you overlook the simple fact that the better trained someone is, the less likely their services will result in a negative conclusion. Police shoot out of fear or a false sense of confidence that lots of training, the kind typically provided to swat teams, can overcome. In this case, I don't fear the state having a swat team yet, I'd like to see how often and under what circumstances they deploy it.

Anonymous said...

SWAT Teams are deployed daily to execute yes execute warrants . They will use military urban warfare tactics to invade a suspects house usually relying on a informant who has a lot of reason to tell them what they want to hear to get the coveted no knock to have fun with automatic rifles, flash bangs and APCs. Running around playing Commando shouting profanities cuffing every one in sight and verbally abusing often unarmed sleeping people . There area few video some a good games for that . I enjoy them for what they are a game and do not have any desire to do it in real life .

This is a example of a SWAT raid gone very wrong

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/26/jose-guerena_n_3988658.html



I know I have a good friend who is a victim of this behavior . There is not any place in a free country for no knocks and each PD having A SWAT team . Hopefully they will be sooner than later that at least no knocks are declared unconstitutional as a 6th amendment violation .
Amber , I have been trying to help my friend and met with a lot disappointment . I took a Alford plea to end the madness of appeals . Our so called justice system is based on procedure even if reality is far different . Until wake to the fact we have given up our rights and do have to worry . Maybe when a SWAT teams/s descend on some nice gated community and shoots it up it will happen t . all one needs is a alleged infotainment who might not even have to testify say on a “sworn statement” drugs at x address they are dealers and they might possibly remotely have guns . Reality is it is rare a drug dealer will shoot at a cop those guns usually a handgun are for protection from the competition or worse, not cops . Shooting at a cop is just stupid and suicidal it is not done unless one is either suicidal or does not know it is a cop .

Anon 1/10/2014 01:39:00 PM you are in part right we have put soldiers who have returned from a war where you do not know who friend from enemy into cops uniform and give them a lot of power and did not think wait this is not a good idea . Also game wardens can search in places cops cannot why good question it should be a 4th amendment violation, LEO is LEO period full stop , but it needs to be stopped. They can with out a warrant search your yard or large plot of land all in the name of protecting game or some plant or other “duty” they are charged with on the premise that wildlife belongs to every one or something along those lines . That is why game wardens are getting SWAT, to raid your land with out a warrant . A lot of drug trafficking is done on large tracts public or private land to avoid getting caught in a raid in TX and other large western states . It is not uncommon for a large plot of land to be used to grow marijuana or stash drugs. The person s who are involved can avoid arrest by simply cutting their losses and leaving before LOE gets there they too can use surveillance a small trail cam is about 200 for a real good one some will send the images to you . Now the landowning is stuck with a lot of criminal charges for a crime they did not have any thing to do with . All that is needed is the drugs .

Back to my my friend I am looking for a very good post conviction lawyer to help .Grits my friends case might be something that some one at the TX innocence project might like especially if they are interested in fighting a Illegal warrant and use of a C I who had and has a lot of reason/s to lie and give perjured testimony .There isn't any DNA ,but a lot of official misconduct . Also there is not any intent to violate any law at all though courts have found no need for intent or knowledge they were engaged in a crime . This is a exception carved out of or legal process due to the drug war .

Bean Counter said...

The biggest use of no knock warrants is for suspected drug smuggling/possession, typically large amounts. If you want to drastically reduce such warrants being issued, either legalize drugs or put pressure on the judicial branch to stop signing them without real good reasons. Again, the basis of such warrants makes sense on a technical level, the number of screwups still relatively small compared to instances where nothing is found and no one is physically hurt. I know that is little consolation when your case is that 1 in a thousand but it is how other bean counters look at it.

For the record, despite claims to the contrary, Game Wardens are notorious for treating other law enforcement worse than general population hunters. While not impacted directly, around hunting season, I hear all sorts of comments where city police are in complete agreement with many of you regarding the powers of game wardens being unconstitutional. I don't know enough about it to comment on court rulings but I suspect the courts have upheld the authority and powers of game wardens over the years or I wouldn't hear about it so much.

On the matter of using former military as LEO's, would you rather gainfully employ such types or prefer they free lance in profitable ventures using their learned skill set? As a matter of policy, it makes sense to pick the best of the bunch that are suited to law enforcement, many making fine officers. Those dealing with PTSD might be better employed elsewhere but it is uncommon such are employed in departments that follow standardized hiring procedures.

Anon 1/11/2014 01:06:00 PM, don't let your single case color your judgement against the entire system. Most warrants are served without problems, most officers who were in the military do not go crazy, and do most guilty pleas interest the limited resources of people looking into false convictions?

Anonymous said...

Just an example of SWAT envy.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that we are becoming more and more of a police state.

Anonymous said...

More of the same idiocy from the Rick Perry regime that began when one of the Governor’s top cronies and political hacks Steve McCraw seized control of Texas DPS.

McCraw has squandered millions of taxpayer dollars on hair brained schemes like Ranger Recon Teams, Highway Patrol gun boats, helicopter snipers, and increasing the DPS SWAT team ranks ten fold.

It’s a shame to see that Texas Parks & Wildlife LE Director Craig Hunter now apparently shares the same ridiculous and delusional vision with McCraw to justify the development of military assets within his agency to combat international terrorism and trans-national criminal organizations. The truth is this is all part of the latest fad in law enforcement to acquire the latest weapons and paraphernalia needed to attain an acceptable level of the cool factor.

Anonymous said...

6:19 AM - I could not agree more. McCraw delusional mindset is effecting other agencies. DPS needs gun boats and Ranger Recon teams like a boat needs holes in its hull. Terrorism, trans-national gangs, and now the new word "human trafficking" is meant to scare citizens and representatives alike. Terrorism is not within the purview of DPS's function and is something McCraw is OCD about from his FBI days.

Now Hunter is drinking the same Kool Aid.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to also mention the multiple million $$$ spy plane McCraw also suckered the legislature into buying.

Anonymous said...

Is that a Zealot tab on his uniform?

Roadsidebetty said...

Ridiculous, tragic in some cases, funny because it's so over the top. However after reading all the posts it occurred to me. Sensible people see it for what it is; a spectacle of nonsense and fiscal waste (to bad buying park benches and swing sets isn't very glamorous or ego boosting). But these militarized approaches to handling civil disobedience are not in service to maintaining civility. I don't particularly want to live somewhere that endorses manhandling the populace it's supposed to be in care of. I want the civility to be protected. If this were a parent/child relationship...or one of equals it would be a cps case or a deal breaker. The attitude and zeal they are promoting aggression with engenders same. Who wants that? I guess I live in the wrong country. I
hope I'm not in the wrong place at the wrong time or i might be falsely accused, have my house raided, my children removed and emotionally destroyed, my rights trampled on in court, and end up on death row staring at a wall 23 hours a day to think about it!