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  • Ca Dfg

    My career goal is to become a fish & wildlife officer (Game Warden). I live in Washington state and I am going to be finishing up with my AA in Criminal Justice next June. In WA you need to have a BA to be a game warden but in CA all you need is a AA or 60 semester hours. I was looking at CA Dept of Fish & Game and their law enforcement division. I have heard many bad things about the dept mainly their low pay (in WA a game warden starts out at about 50k in CA its about 40k). I have done some research on the agency and basically all I can find about their low pay, low budget and budget cutbacks. I have been told though that the outlook on their pay is looking brighter with the new POC bargaining unit working for them. So as an outsider looking in it looks kind of good. So for you guys down in CA that probably know the dept better than me, what do you people think of it? And is it worth my time applying and possibly moving down?
    Last edited by wildlife97; 07-24-2008, 04:05 PM.

  • #2
    I've worked with them and looked into them in the past. Here are the good and bad that I see:

    Good: Take home truck. Work out of home (must live in assigned patrol area). Lots of special assignments including boats, planes, and UC (working poaching operations).

    Bad: Pay (but there has been a push for years for parity with the CHP - If they get it you'll have the best Wildlife gig in the country). Initial assignment is often an urban area such as LA or SF mostly working spills and such.
    If you see me running try to keep up!

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    • #3
      I've looked into DFG. Looks like a great gig but that damn pay disparity...

      If you haven't already, check out these links to their self-produced expose:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/2172431/Ca...-Warden-Expose

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/2172522/Ca...-Expose-Update

      I hope they can get it done!
      Focused Recruit

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      • #4
        DFG has always been CA's red headed step child. They are always understaffed, get the worst pay and benefits (compared to CHP and DOJ special agents) and underfunded as an agency. There's some good people working there, but it would be a very tough environment to stay in for a career. They seem to be treated very poorly by their state managers, the people they regularly come in contact with (violators, prosecutors and the courts don't take F&G violations very seriously) and often backup (if available at all) is a long ways away.
        "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GB0610
          With the amount of openings they have, guys are getting sent to a ton of more rural places as well...

          in regards to the pay parity with CHP, RUMOR has it that they are in talks to potentially merge the two depts.
          I'm pretty sure that was an internet joke. DFG + CHP = Fish n Chips

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          • #6
            DFG is a very interesting agency. yes, low pay but lots of OT, state vehicle, work out of your home with state equipment, etc.

            if you want information, PM or email me. I will put you in contact with a recruiter OR association representative for the DFG.
            ''Life's tough......it's tougher if you're stupid.''
            -- John Wayne

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            • #7
              Most of what was said above was very accurate and I couldn't add much to it. As far as the money thing goes, it's not as bad as everyone portrays and like any job it gets better with time. What the brochures and the internet posters might not say is that there are several little perks that really add up. $350/month if you live in a high cost-of-living county, $100/month educational incentive, longevity incentives based on time-on, and hey: that taking your truck home thing is becoming a factor worth considering. Most cops wear out a car every 4 - 5 years tops, not to mention the $1000's in gas.
              Another thing that is hard for most to grasp is the freedom a game warden can have. In most positions your schedule is very flexible, allowing you to take care of life's little necessities without it being a real big deal. Ask your cop friends what would happen if they said, "Hey Sarge- I gotta mow the lawn. Can I be a couple hours late today? Oh yeah- My wife needs to drop her car off at the shop this morning too so it might be noon before I can start"..... You get the picture: No roll call, no briefing.
              Right now the DFG is accepting app's, and they now take laterals that only have to do a short DFG-specific academy.
              I figured I should chime in here. My screen name consists of my CDFG badge # and my rank.
              Last edited by 417Lt; 07-22-2008, 09:22 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 417Lt View Post
                Most of what was said above was very accurate and I couldn't add much to it. As far as the money thing goes, it's not as bad as everyone portrays and like any job it gets better with time. What the brochures and the internet posters might not say is that there are several little perks that really add up. $350/month if you live in a high cost-of-living county, $100/month educational incentive, longevity incentives based on time-on, and hey: that taking your truck home thing is becoming a factor worth considering. Most cops wear out a car every 4 - 5 years tops, not to mention the $1000's in gas.
                Another thing that is hard for most to grasp is the freedom a game warden can have. In most positions your schedule is very flexible, allowing you to take care of life's little necessities without it being a real big deal. Ask your cop friends what would happen if they said, "Hey Sarge- I gotta mow the lawn. Can I be a couple hours late today? Oh yeah- My wife needs to drop her car off at the shop this morning too so it might be noon before I can start"..... You get the picture: No roll call, no briefing.
                Right now the DFG is accepting app's, and they now take laterals that only have to do a short DFG-specific academy.
                I figured I should chime in here. My sreeen name consists of my CDFG badge # and my rank.

                + !! while people are griping about pay-which is a serious thing to factor in, I don't know of any Ca. DFG wardens starving! "get in where you fit in", is what I say- pay may be low to start, but I look at it like this- if you can make $50K+ to $70K a yr in THIS economy and are doing the job you like, you are winning! DFG wardens work in a "specialized L.E.",and there are always politics involved.They have high hiring standards and a unique work environment. AND they are "cops"-period. people laugh about the fact that they do wildlife and resource mgm't L.E. until you consider the high cost of damages and criminal behavior surrounding people who literally rape our states natural resources ! DFG wardens were in full effect last weekend when I was fishing on a charter boat in the southbay- in addition to those "fishing license fines and cites", there are fools who go to jail regularly found in possession of narcotics,guns and felony warrants.some times doing basic street patrol work isn't the niche for everyone, but being that this is CA- everyone- from Park Rangers to LAPD,to even local college cops , are going to hit peoples front doors and be in pursuit of felons sooner or later. IF DFG has openings and will hire you - go for it; you can make a career of it,or like any other CA.peace officer, later go to the depts you think offer more.......
                "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

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                • #9
                  If we ever have a booth at a local recruiting fair I'll hire you for the day DOAcop38. Thanks for the unsolicited testamonial.
                  I'm probably not to far from you. N on SFCR from Copperhill, 18 miles to the stop sign.

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                  • #10
                    Hi all, joined the forum a long time ago to do some research and now actively searching to get on a department after I get my degree in May. Completely off topic but I wanted to say 417 and DOA, nice to know you're part of the neighborhood

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sgttom View Post
                      DFG is a very interesting agency. yes, low pay but lots of OT,
                      I heard that they dont get any OT, or has that since changed?

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                      • #12
                        Being that I have always been a outdoors type person, if I could start my career all over I wish I would have been a game warden. I have a good friend that left LASD after 12 years and went to DFG, he took a big pay cut but was much happier as a Warden.
                        Retired LASD

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                        • #13
                          Originally Posted by wildlife97
                          I heard that they dont get any OT, or has that since changed?
                          Originally posted by GB0610
                          Very little. But you will work a TON of OT. It will just be billed as COMP time. So you'll work a ton, then have a fair amount of time off.
                          Our OT situation varies from year to year. After the State budget is settled the Department will look at what they got and decide who gets what. Last year we did pretty good. Here's a couple other things to consider: Many things we do are funded from outside sources that can be cash OT regardless of the Department's general overtime budget. We have an entire unit that works oil pollution and prevention and they are funded by the oil business. Believe me- They have OT.
                          Last year we started being proactive about preventing the spread of the invasive Quagga Mussel. This duty came with special funding and there was a lot of OT available. Recently, at the end of the fiscal year, I had to call the local assistant chief and tell him how many QM hours my squad (LA County) would not be able to use so he could re-distribute them. We worked all we could.
                          If your personal life can stand it, our Special Operations Unit (deep cover) has a spot for the OT fans. I've heard a common strategy is to get cash until your accountant says to stop, rack up comp time until your project is finished, then take the next 6 months off to burn your time banks down.
                          Can anyone be guaranteed cash OT? Of course not. Things change from year to year. But I can say for a fact: Never say never.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Retired96 View Post
                            Being that I have always been a outdoors type person, if I could start my career all over I wish I would have been a game warden. I have a good friend that left LASD after 12 years and went to DFG, he took a big pay cut but was much happier as a Warden.
                            If my hunch is correct, your friend (Uncle Dick) is retired in Grand Junction Co. right now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 417Lt View Post
                              If my hunch is correct, your friend (Uncle Dick) is retired in Grand Junction Co. right now.
                              Your right, I have known him for almost 30 years. We spent many working hours at San Dimas. I will never forget a 997 when Dick hit a Adam Henry with his gun and cut the dirtbags ear off, nor will I forget the day that he had a punk with a pellet gun and and when he tried to bust the gun it discharged and shot him in the neck.

                              Your photo of the East Fork brought back many memories of working San Dimas 88 and the zoo in the canyon.
                              Retired LASD

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