Head of the Class: 25 New State Park Peace Officer Ranger and Lifeguard Graduates

This year marks 150 years since Galen Clark was appointed by the Yosemite Commission to be the first Guardian of Yosemite State Park, and thus, the first ranger. Clark was directed in his letters of instruction to protect the park and preserve the peace within.

Yesterday, a new group of 25 cadets (Group 39) graduated from California State Parks’ Basic Visitor Services Training (BVST) with the same charge as Galen Clark, ensuring that future generations can be inspired by the state’s extraordinary biological, cultural and natural diversity and high-quality outdoor recreation. BVST is the second to final stage for cadets becoming State Park Peace Officers (Rangers and Lifeguards).

Congratulations to the 25 graduates, and now State Park Peace Officers, of Group 39:

  • Stephanie Collin-Sowers
  • Kevin Craig
  • Michael Cueto
  • Patrick Cullen
  • Peter Estes
  • Clark Hale
  • Carina Hammang
  • Aurora Harrison
  • Cody Hoffman
  • Daniel Kendall
  • Sara Kennedy
  • Janessa LaBouyer
  • Damion Laughlin
  • Dustin LeBrun
  • Alexandra Lucero
  • Tristan McHenry
  • Cameron O’Quinn
  • Blair Pujols
  • Taylor Riis
  • Christopher Sederquist
  • Gregory Shaner
  • Heather Thomson
  • Christopher Townsend
  • Kary Tyler-Davis
  • Jake Williams


Before setting foot inside the academy, potential cadets must go through a screen processes that can take upwards of 18 months. This process includes:

  • Application
  • Physical Agility Tests
  • Written Exam
  • Oral Interview
  • Background Investigation
  • Psychological and Medical Evaluations

Academy instruction prepares the students mentally, morally, emotionally and physically to enter and successfully complete the Field Training Officer’s Program (FTO), which is 13 additional weeks of on-the-job training.  More than 160 Butte College Public Safety instructors and State Parks instructors deliver over 1,500 hours of instruction.

Academy cadets receive approximately:

  • 1,282 hours of P.O.S.T. instruction
  • 367 hours of park operations
  • 42 learning domain instructional topics
  • 24 academic tests
  • 14 scenario tests, a mid-term and final exam

Cadets also complete tests in firearms, physical fitness, defensive tactics and driving.  The culmination of the park operations component is a 20-minute interpretive presentation in which cadets must demonstrate competency in:

  • Professional reasoning
  • Human relations/communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Job knowledge
  • Physical skills

After graduation, cadets report to their field training locations throughout the state and rotate through four, three-week training phases with senior State Parks Peace Officers.

For more information on how you can become a State park Peace Officer Ranger or Lifeguard, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/cadet


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