|HARRISBURG, Pa. (May 8 – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it is recruiting a new class of Waterways Conservation Officers (WCO).
“Waterways Conservation Officers make up the law enforcement arm of the Commission, although the duties of a WCO go beyond police work,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “WCOs perform specialized work in fisheries conservation and watercraft safety, education and public relations – responsibilities that are emphasized through specialized training.”
The state Civil Service Commission announced that applications for WCO trainee positions will be accepted between May 14 and June 28. All written testing must be completed with the Civil Service Commission by July 26.
The PFBC currently has 62 full-time WCOs and 15 vacancies in various districts across the state.
Typical duties include patrolling by foot, car and boat to detect violations of fishing and boating laws; apprehending violators; issuing warnings and citations; serving warrants; presenting evidence at hearings and court proceedings; investigating water pollution incidents; investigating boating accidents; and stocking fish. Appearing in public to conduct classes or provide information to groups are also highlights of the WCOs duties.
“They work demanding schedules, including holidays and weekends, to perform their vital public safety and conservation duties,” said Colonel Corey Britcher, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “It’s a challenging but rewarding career.”
All WCOs begin their career as a WCO trainee. Before candidates are assigned the highly independent duties of Waterways Conservation Officer, they must complete an extensive 52-week specialized training program, beginning with approximately 20 weeks of instruction in law enforcement principles and practices which meet the standards of the Municipal Police Training Act. The training covers all phases of police work, from the Vehicle and Crimes codes to use of firearms and conducting criminal investigations.
An additional 32-week period follows, with 20 weeks of classroom training at the PFBC’s H. R. Stackhouse School of Fisheries Conservation and Watercraft Safety in Centre County, Pa., and 12 weeks of supervised field training. During the on-the-job field training, officers join seasoned WCOs and assist with investigations, patrol regions, participate in public outreach events and stock waterways.
The 52-week training program is scheduled to begin in July 2015.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age at date of hire and possess a current valid Pennsylvania driver’s license. Applicants must be residents of Pennsylvania and be able to perform the essential functions of the job. Successful candidates must pass written, oral, and physical evaluations. Additional information about a career as a WCO is available on the PFBC’s Careers page.
Application forms and further information on the process can be obtained from the State Civil Service Commission website at www.scsc.state.pa.us. Information may also be obtained from State Civil Service Commission offices in Harrisburg at 717-783-3058 (Text Telephone: 717-772-2685), Philadelphia at 215-560-2253 (Text Telephone: 215-560-4367), or Pittsburgh at 412-565-7666 (Text Telephone: 412-565-2484.) Information may also be obtained by contacting the PFBC’s Human Resource Office at 717-705-7820.
Eric Levis, Press Secretary