CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Five new Tennessee game wardens (technically known as wildlife officers) have been assigned across the state. Hamilton County has been one game warden short for many months. Most rural counties are only assigned one wildlife officer. However three officers are normally assigned to the busy metropolitan counties, including Hamilton, where officers have far greater boating, hunting and fishing enforcement responsibilities, along with increased public relations duties. However wildlife officers Joe McSpadden and Christy Twilla have been the only officers in Hamilton County after an officer transferred to another county in 2016.
TWRA has completed internal selection and assignment of five new wildlife officers, one of which is David Holt (pictured left above) who will be assigned to Hamilton County.
The other wildlife officer additions include Ethan Davis (Trousdale County), Kendall Fletcher (Polk County) and Jamie Greenwood (Putnam County). Michael Bobel, who has been a wildlife technician, will serve as a wildlife manager at Old Hickory Wildlife Management Area.
The officers are required to complete TWRA training and graduate from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. Once they complete their training, they will begin their assignments in their respective counties.
TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter commissioned the new officers at the ceremony held July 7 at the Ellington Agriculture Center in Nashville.
In other personnel news, Dir. Carter has also reorganized the Agency’s command structure, effectively eliminating the role of regional managers.
TWRA splits the state into four regions with headquarters in Morristown (Reg. IV), Crossville (Reg. III), Nashville (Reg. II) and Jackson (Reg. I). There is a regional manager assigned in each and for decades every employee, including wildlife officers, in each region reported directly or indirectly to the regional managers.
Dir. Carter reorganized the Agency not long after his 2009 appointment, establishing three “middle managers” over law enforcement, fisheries and wildlife in each region. However those middle managers still reported to the regional manager. For instance the TWRA statewide Chief of Law Enforcement had no direct authority over individual county wildlife officers.
However now, very quietly, Dir. Carter has reorganized his administration again so that each of those regional middle managers report directly to their respective chiefs in the Nashville headquarters, effectively doing an end-run around the regional managers. The only people who now report directly to the regional managers are the office staff in each respective regional office. And, for instance, individual county wildlife officers now report (up the chain of command) directly to the statewide Chief of Law Enforcement.
In a recent interview Carter said he felt the change would be more streamlined, creating more effective and efficient communications up and down the chain of command. He said each of the four regional managers (Reg. 1 Manager Alan Peterson, Reg. II Manager Tim Cleveland, Reg. III Manager John Mayer and Reg. IV Manager John Gregory), are not far from retirement and the position has (or will be) renamed to regional administrator.