Perceptions of Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens about Effectiveness of Law Enforcement Programs
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Conserving wildlife and wildlife habitat for future generations has been very important in America. The decline, if not extinction, of native wildlife have become major issues in the conservation field. Youth are vulnerable to following the practices of a society and youth are the future in protecting and conserving natural resources. Illegal hunting and fishing have caused the extinction or demise of many wildlife species. Law enforcement at both federal and state levels has been addressing wildlife crimes for well over a hundred years. Natural resource law enforcement programs are used every day in order to protect this nations' wildlife for future generations. In Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens have been tasked with protecting Texas' natural resources. This study was created in order to find out the perceptions of Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens about effectiveness of law enforcement programs within the department. A survey was sent to game wardens throughout the state of Texas to find out the effectiveness of the following law enforcement programs: fish patrol, game patrol, Operation Game Thief, and educational programs. The effectiveness of the above programs was based on six categories of effectiveness. The six categories of effectiveness used were specific deterrence, general deterrence, detection, cost effectiveness, public support, and Operation Game Thief. Game wardens ranked each program on how well they perceived the program in being effective. An additional survey was added to this research paper as exploratory research in order to explore possible concerns about recruitment and retention within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division of Law Enforcement. The four law enforcement programs studied received above average support from game wardens throughout the state. Fish and game patrol were considered the most effective in the perception of effectiveness categories. Even though Operation Game Thief and educational programs were considered to be less effective, the programs were still supported by a majority of game wardens. The recruitment and retention survey illustrated that a large number of game wardens were concerned about recruitment and retention within the Texas Parks & Wildlife Law Enforcement Division.