TPWD News Release — May 1, 2012
AUSTIN – Col. Pete Flores, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division Director, has announced his retirement effective May 31 after more than 27 years of state service.
“Pete Flores has had a long, proud, and very distinguished career serving the department and the state of Texas as a state game warden,” said agency executive director Carter Smith. “As colonel, he has been an exemplary and strategic leader of the Law Enforcement Division and has set the bar high for conservation law enforcement across the country. His colleagues respect him immensely and justifiably so.”
Flores graduated from the Game Warden Training Academy in January 1985 and as a newly commissioned state game warden began his career in Chambers County. He later worked in Brazos County and after promotion to captain, assumed supervisory duties in Beaumont. Later he served as captain in San Antonio and then as a major in San Angelo. In March 2005 he was promoted from lieutenant colonel to the division’s top position.
“Besides the births of my children and grandchildren, the day that I had the blue badge pinned on my chest at the TPWD headquarters in Austin was the most memorable day of my life,” Flores said. “I am extremely proud of the men and women in our ranks. They will take us into the future with competence, professionalism, passion and a clear sense of purpose.”
Smith said the colonel’s successor would be announced as soon as possible.
“I am most proud of all Pete has done to ensure our game wardens are the best trained, the best prepared, the best equipped, and the best outfitted they can be to meet the modern day challenges, complexities, and dangers of law enforcement across our state,” Smith continued. “The new Texas Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County is a reflection of Pete’s vision and professional commitment to helping our wardens be the absolute best they can be. Throughout his tenure, he has never settled for anything else.”
As TPWD Law Enforcement Division director, Col. Flores oversees 532 game wardens who provide “law enforcement off the pavement” across the state. Though state game wardens focus primarily on conservation laws, they are fully commissioned peace officers authorized to enforce all state statutes.
Under Flores’ leadership, state game warden training moved from an outdated 1978-vintage, 6.2-acre facility in central Austin to a new 220-acre campus with 39,000 square feet of state-of-the-art building in Hamilton County. The Texas Legislature initially authorized $3.6 million from the sale of the Austin property to begin constructing the new Texas Game Warden Training Center. The rest of the funding for the $20 million project is coming from private donations, with more than $10 million raised to date.
Beyond an expanded role that includes environmental crimes enforcement, undercover investigations of interstate wildlife crimes and extensive outreach to build rapport in local communities, game wardens also assumed greater border security duties on Flores’ watch, adding more “boots on the ground” and new types of boats, vehicles, and firepower.
“All of us who care about the future of our lands, waters, fish, and wildlife owe Colonel Flores a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless service, tireless leadership, and unyielding commitment to the law enforcement profession and to the state he loves,” Smith said.
A native of Laredo, Flores went to work for TPWD following his graduation from Texas A&M University.