New Waterways Conservation Officers Graduate, Prepare to Report to Regions for Duty

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BELLEFONTE, PA — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently announced that six members of the 23rd Class of Waterways Conservation Officers (WCO) have formally graduated from the agency’s H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety. The officers will report to their assigned regions across the Commonwealth next week to begin their duties.

“We are extremely proud to officially welcome this dedicated group of officers to our Fish and Boat Commission team,” said Col. Clyde Warner, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “With their intense training behind them, these new officers are ready to serve millions of anglers and boaters in Pennsylvania and work to protect, conserve, and enhance our aquatic resources.”

Before graduating, officers undergo an extensive training program encompassing all aspects of conservation law enforcement. Typically, as part of a 52-week training schedule, officers must attend a 26-week Municipal Police Officers Basic Training (ACT 120) conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police followed by an additional 26 weeks of training at the PFBC’s H.R. Stackhouse School of Fisheries Conservation and Watercraft Safety located in Bellefonte, Centre County. However, to expedite the training process, this class of WCOs was recruited with the requirement that they had previously obtained ACT 120 certification and were able to advance directly to the PFBC academy, which included field training alongside seasoned WCOs.

During their conservation law enforcement careers, the officers’ duties will be multifaceted and include patrolling the streams, rivers, and lakes in their regions; assisting with investigations; participating in public outreach events; and stocking waterways with fish.

The new Waterways Conservation Officers are listed below, along with their hometowns and assigned regions.

  • Tyler M. Crooks, Johnstown, Cambria County. Assigned to northern Somerset County.
  • Connor G. Dobransky, Kittanning, Armstrong County. Assigned to Butler County.
  • Brian T. Guenin, New Kensington, Westmoreland County. Assigned to Greene and southern Washington Counties.
  • Frank J. Mehalko III, Loretto, Cambria County. Assigned to eastern Berks and western Montgomery Counties.
  • Christian W. Trauger, Orrstown, Franklin County. Assigned to northern Wayne County.
  • Kyle A. Wirick, Johnstown, Cambria County. Assigned to Franklin and eastern Fulton Counties.

In addition to the graduating class, several WCOs accepted new assignments, which include:

  • Andrew Saunier transferred from Warren County to Western Crawford County.
  • Alec Delong transferred from Lackawanna, Wayne and Susquehanna Counties to southern Monroe and northern Carbon Counties.
  • Sean Lake transferred from Franklin County to southern York County.

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