Devon McGuire of Boone became one of North Carolina’s newest wildlife enforcement officers after completing the 58th basic academy of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Law Enforcement Division in Raleigh.
McGuire was one of 15 graduates taking the oath of office during the ceremony held Tuesday, July 19, at First Baptist Church of Pinehurst in West End. The graduation followed seven months of intensive training at the N.C. Department of Public Safety Samarcand Training Academy in Jackson Springs, where most of the basic law enforcement training was conducted.
Before acceptance into the school, McGuire was required to pass an extensive background, psychological and physical screening, conducted by the agency’s law enforcement division.
During his training, McGuire and his peers completed conservation-specific training on fish and wildlife laws, motorboat accident investigation and protected species. Instruction also covered statutory and investigation procedures, defensive tactics, fish and game laws, and pursuit driving and boating.
According to the agency, McGuire was among those new officers taking an oath to” enforce criminal laws, including conservation and boating laws, and to faithfully and impartially execute the duties of a North Carolina law enforcement officer.”
“I am thrilled to be done with my training and I look forward to moving on to the next step,” McGuire. “I will now go on to complete six more months of field training in Lincoln county with a senior wildlife officer. After completion of field training, I will be placed in a permanent county to continue the job.”
When asked about his career goals, his response was simple: “To be very successful and to also have fun doing one of the best jobs in the world. I hope to one day get closer to home, although Lincoln county isn’t too far away from home.”
What attracted McGuire to this particular career, we asked? “I started researching the requirements and all that a wildlife officer had to do. I then talked to some local wildlife officers, and that is when I decided this was the career for me.”
As a student at Appalachian State University, McGuire said, he “had in mind” that he wanted to apply for the next wildlife officer basic academy.
“Luckily, about a month after I graduated in 2021, the NC Wildlife Commission posted the job openings for the 58th basic school.”
Since he was very young, McGuire said, he has loved the outdoors. “And I’m thankful for my family teaching me basically everything I know.”
This career will be a perfect fit for him, McGuire said, “It will allow me to continue to share my passion for the outdoors, while also getting to work and teach others. My family, friends, coworkers and other wildlife officers played a massive role in my inspiration to apply for this job.”
He added that talking to other wildlife officers — and understanding what the job is really all about — helped confirm that it was the right job for him to pursue.
McGuire is a graduate of Watauga High School, where he was actively involved in the Marine Corps JROTC Program, reaching the rank of first lieutenant before graduation and receiving various honors and awards in the meantime.
His prior work experience includes that of a security guard at a local ski resort, working with a local meat processing company and operating his own landscape/lawn service since 2013.
As a Dream Scholar, McGuire attended Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute for an associate’s degree; he received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University in 2021, completing an internship with Lenoir Police Department. In 2021, he also completed the Advanced Live-Fire Combat Training System at Troysgate Human Performance Systems Training Facility.
“I am very thankful to have the support from my family and friends that helped me get to this point, and I know they will continue to support me throughout the rest of my career,” McGuire said.
Realizing it might take a little while to accomplish, he hopes to eventually return to the mountains that he loves — and to give back to the community that helped him get to where he is today.
He is the son of Brad and Cindy McGuire and Is a council member/secretary at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.
Out of 500 applicants for the recent state wildlife officer training, McGuire was one of 18 recruits chosen and one of 15 graduating. The new officers include:
- Cooper Abernathy, Morganton
- Carson Billings, Elkin
- Haywood Brantley, Spring Hope
- Cole Burch, Sylva
- Dern Crilley, Bladenboro
- Hunter Gray, Valley City, Ohio
- Spencer Hamilton, Sophia
- Stephan Hawrysch, Loris, South Carolina
- Chance Herron, Troy
- Nathan Kreitman, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- Devon McGuire, Boone
- Joseph Pepoli, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
- Omar Petty, Kings Mountain
- Nathaniel Schott, Pylesville, Maryland
- Sam Shepperd, Indian Trail