New game warden graduates earn top marks, special recognition at Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy
Three new Wyoming Game and Fish Department game wardens were honored recently for their outstanding performance at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy Peace Officer Basic Course in Douglas. Game Wardens Elise Huysman, Gavin Dougherty and Jesse Niemeir graduated July 28 from the 14-week course with a number of special recognitions. 

Huysman received the Honor Graduate award, which is the highest award bestowed on an officer while attending the Peace Officer Basic Course. Huysman was selected by the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy instructional staff, who honor one officer in each class for performing in a superior manner in all phases of training and who exhibited all the essential qualities and attributes of a professional peace officer. Originally from Connecticut, Warden Huysman will be stationed in the Laramie Region.

Dougherty was recognized for his firearms proficiency, posting perfect scores on both the pistol and rifle courses. He was one of four students nominated for the Honor Graduate award. Dougherty also received the top academic award for achieving the highest cumulative score on all written examinations given during the course. Hailing from New Jersey, Warden Dougherty will be stationed in the Green River Region.

Niemeir was given the physical fitness award for earning the highest cumulative score on the final fitness assessment. Originally from Montana, Warden Niemeir will be stationed in the Laramie Region.
“Elise, Gavin and Jesse’s performance at the academy is commendable,” said Rick King, chief game warden. “We’re proud to have them join the department’s wildlife law enforcement team. These are the caliber of folks who we strive to recruit to Game and Fish to serve the public and protect Wyoming’s wildlife.”

It’s a requirement that all game wardens attend the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy for training. The Peace Officer Basics Course is 605 hours of instruction on topics such as constitutional law, search and seizure, emergency vehicle operations, custody and control and firearms. Upon graduation from the academy, wardens complete additional training from Game and Fish.

Game and Fish recruits new wardens annually and will begin accepting applications this year on Oct. 1. 
Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree —  or will receive their degree by June 1, 2023 —  in wildlife management, range management, biology, zoology, ichthyology or other closely-related fields. Other bachelor’s degrees may be considered with at least 20 hours of wildlife-related coursework detailed on transcripts. 

For more information on the application process, contact Wildlife Division Administration at (307) 777-4684 or e-mail For full details on the application process visit the Game and Fish warden recruitment webpage

Photo: Chief Game Warden Rick King, Game Warden Dougherty, Game Warden Huysman and Game Warden Niemeir.
Sara DiRienzo, Public Information Officer - (

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