Retired Texas game warden Kris Bishop was awarded the Outstanding Leadership award by the State Agency Council to the Governor’s Commission for Women at their awards luncheon at Renaissance Austin on Sept. 24.
“Through her service with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Kris has become a trailblazer and role model, not just for female game wardens, but for every game warden,” said Col. Craig Hunter, TPWD Director of Law Enforcement. “She is an exceptional leader whose contributions to our agency will not soon be forgotten.”
During her tenure as a game warden, Bishop paved the way for future female wardens by serving 10 years as the only female warden in Galveston County and by becoming the first female Assistant Chief of Fisheries Enforcement.
Candidates were nominated by their respective agency heads in four categories — outstanding professional development, outstanding management, outstanding leadership and outstanding community involvement. A committee reviewed the nominations and selected four women whose contributions exemplified each category.
She entered the game warden academy in 1993 after a professor at Southwest Texas State University suggested the career to her. She submitted her application and competed against the resumes of others- mostly men. After excelling at her preliminary tests and interviews, Bishop was accepted into the 43rd Texas game warden class and became one of less than a dozen female wardens in the state at the time.
During her time as a Galveston County game warden, she attained her Texas Commission of Law Enforcement Master Peace Officer Certification, which is the highest accreditation a peace officer can receive in the state.
In 2002, she was promoted to Assistant Chief of Fisheries Enforcement, becoming the first female to serve as a leader in law enforcement on the TPWD’s Austin headquarters staff, and the highest ranking female warden in the state. To this day, only two other female game wardens have reached the equivalent rank.
In this position, Bishop was charged with coordinating law enforcement division’s civil restitution, risk management, and license suspension/revocation programs. In 2004, she led the proposition of an amendment to the Texas Administrative Code to increase civil restitution fines that violators are charged with when they illegally kill wildlife, that had been in place for 19 years. The TPW commission acknowledged her recommendations and passed the new restitution values, which were adopted into law and remain in place today.
She received a national recognition from the Food and Drug Administration’s Commissioner with a special citation in 2008 by supervising a project dedicated to ensuring the harvest of safe, unadultered Molluscan shellfish from the Gulf. She had been working on this project since becoming the lead Texas law enforcement representative of the Oyster Advisory Panel five years prior.
In addition to her career as Assistance Chief of Fisheries, Bishop annually taught courses in civil restitution, license suspension, and the rules and regulations of commercial fishing to game warden cadets at the Texas Game Warden Training Academy. She was also a guest instructor at the University of Houston’s conservation law course for criminal justice students. In addition, she has appeared numerous times as a TPWD rules and regulations resource witness for House Legislative committees at the Texas Capitol.
In 2009, she returned to the field and became a Bastrop County game warden where she continued to mentor new field wardens, law enforcement interns, and game warden prospects.
Last year, she was awarded the TPWD Director’s Life Saving Citation for saving a drowning and hypothermic victim who had been thrown from his boat in early January on Lake Bastrop.
Bishop retired this past summer after 22 years of service.
Photo by TPWD.