TPWD News Release — Jan. 28, 2010
AUSTIN — Burnet-based Game Warden Brent Whitus has been named Texas "Officer of the Year" by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Director Carter Smith presented the award to Whitus at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Thursday.
Whitus began his TPWD career at Colorado City State Park in 1999. A year later he transferred to Garner State Park as a park peace officer. He later was accepted by the 49th Texas Game Warden Academy, where he graduated in June 2003.
Spending the next five years working in Webb County, Whitus handled several cases involving deer breeders and made numerous arrests for narcotics trafficking. He also participated in the manhunt for those involved in the June 14, 2005 shooting of fellow Game Warden Martin Oviedo in Zapata County and assisted in the arrest of the suspects.
In April 2008 Whitus transferred to Burnet County, where he soon became involved in a high profile deer breeding investigation that led to the filing of eight complaints against a single suspect. The charges included illegal transportation of a buck deer during open season without removing the antlers, record-keeping violations and improper deer identification (tattoos and ear tags.)
Whitus logged more than 140 hours on this investigation, along with other wardens. The defendant pled guilty to all the charges and will be unable to acquire a deer breeder permit for five years.
After attending training on boating while intoxicated enforcement issues, Whitus became interested in writing search warrants to obtain blood samples from suspected drunk boaters refusing to comply with an officer’s request. Consequently, he became the first warden in his district to serve such a warrant.
In addition to his other law enforcement duties, Whitus has been a key player in the Law Enforcement Division’s Force Options Scenario training program. The training is done which special safety equipment and weapons that fire paint projectiles so students can experience as close to an actual life or death shooting situation as possible. This year, Whitus has been involved in training 51 game warden cadets
Active in local church and civic activities, Whitus also is a member of the Texas Game Warden Honor Guard, which supports the families of active, retired or fallen wardens by being a part of their funeral services.