TPWD News Release — May 16, 2005
KILLEEN, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens, in partnership with state and federal homeland security agencies and others, led a terrorism response exercise at TPWD’s Parrie Haynes Ranch south of here May 10-12.
This trained the newly formed Game Warden GIS Team in use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) search and recovery and computer mapping for disaster and terrorism incidents. The training fulfills a homeland security directive to improve coordination between agencies before actual incidents thru simulated exercises. It will also be useful for ongoing game warden work in criminal court cases to collect and present evidence using GIS.
Modern Geographic Information System mapping coupled with Global Positioning Systems help first responders with search and recovery operations needed in natural and man-made disasters. TPWD game wardens used the technology in the 2003 Shuttle Columbia Crash to recover debris in rural and thick brushy areas where their specialized equipment and knowledge of the terrain was needed.
The department’s GIS Lab and Information Technology Division computer experts provided technical support to make the terrorism training exercise possible. The GIS Lab, coordinating with partner organizations to access support skills and technology, also played a key role in the shuttle debris search.
Using remotely sensed information from satellites and rapid field data collection techniques, game wardens and other law enforcement and emergency managers from various agencies conducted the training. It was based on mock scenario in which a terrorist plane carrying radioactive material crashed on a remote ranch in Texas.
“Our Texas game wardens are critical to the emergency management response in this state,” Col. Pete Flores, TPWD law enforcement director. “This technology and training will serve us in our daily duties and will enhance our ability to serve Texans in the manner they expect and deserve.”