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Former Sulphur Springs DPS Officer Named First Female Ranger Major in 200 Year History

September 12, 2023 – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announces the promotion of Texas Ranger Captain Wende O. Wakeman to the rank of major, making her the first female Ranger major in the organization’s storied two-hundred-year history.

“Major Wende Wakeman’s years of hard work, her tremendous strength of character and her unwavering determination have all led her to this moment,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “I cannot think of someone more deserving, nor can I think of a better role model for so many to be able to follow as she continues to pave the way.” 

As of Sept. 1, 2023, Wakeman now serves as the major of Texas Ranger Company “F” stationed in Waco. As Ranger major, Wakeman oversees 27 Rangers and three lieutenants across the region that spans just south of Dallas to south of San Antonio, encompassing the central part of the state.  

“It is an unbelievable honor to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of this great state and to lead my fellow Texas Rangers in this capacity,” said Major Wakeman. “This moment in Ranger history is only possible because of the dedication and the sacrifice of so many that have come before, along with the incredible strides made by this organization over the years. I will strive to do my very best to represent the men and women of this department every day.”

Wakeman first joined DPS more than two decades ago in 1998. She was a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper in Sulphur Springs and New Caney before being promoted to narcotics sergeant in 2003. In 2008, Wakeman joined the Texas Rangers in Conroe. In 2014, she was promoted to lieutenant and was stationed in Laredo, marking the first time in agency history that a woman was promoted to the rank of Ranger lieutenant. She transferred to Huntsville in 2015. In 2020, Wakeman promoted to the rank of captain. She served at Texas Ranger Headquarters in Austin until this most recent promotion. During her time at Ranger Headquarters, Wakeman oversaw the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Program. SAKI is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to assist with furthering collection of offender DNA and the investigation and prosecution of cold case sexually related homicides and sexual assault cases, including violent serial sex offenders.

Wakeman is a graduate of the National Forensics Academy, the International Association of Chiefs of Police Women’s Leadership Institute and the DPS Command College. She is a TCOLE Instructor and has provided instruction to DPS recruits and Texas Rangers in the fields of Case Management and Crime Scene Investigation. Wakeman has also completed the FBI Leadership Trilogy, and the LEMIT – Leadership Inventory for Female Executives (L.I.F.E.) course and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University.

About the Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers specialize in investigating major crime incidents (such as murders, sexual assaults and kidnappings), unsolved and serial crimes, public corruption, crimes against children, officer-involved shootings and border security operations. The Rangers also oversee specialized law enforcement teams within DPS, including the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, Special Response Teams, Ranger Reconnaissance Team, Crisis Negotiations Unit and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit.

In 2023, the Texas Rangers celebrate 200 years of service. You can learn more about the Texas Rangers on the DPS website.

Author: Chad Young

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