Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Honors Top Waterways Conservation Officers

WCO Matthew Visosky, Officer of the Year AwardLeft to Right – PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer, Col. Clyde Warner, WCO Matthew Visosky, PFBC President William Gibney /Photos courtesy PFBC.

HARRISBURG, PA — At its recent quarterly business meeting on April 29, 2024, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) recognized the exceptional service of several Waterways Conservation Officers (WCO) with prestigious awards for their dedication to law enforcement, environmental protection, and public safety on the state’s waterways.

Highlighting the ceremony was the presentation of the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Officer of the Year Award to WCO Matthew Visosky of the Central Erie County district. Visosky, a seasoned officer and a 2002 graduate of the PFBC’s H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety, was honored for his comprehensive 2023 patrol efforts, which included 36 days of onboard boat patrols, 480 boardings, and the issuance of 166 citations. Beyond his law enforcement duties, Visosky also dedicated time to educating the public, participating in 24 educational events across his district.

The Gerald L. Greiner Environmental Protection Award was bestowed upon Justin Boatwright, who served as the WCO for Clinton/West Lycoming County before being promoted to Sergeant in the Northcentral Region. Boatwright, recognized for embodying the ‘Resource First’ philosophy through his commitment to protecting and enhancing Pennsylvania’s aquatic resources, investigated seven environmental incidents in 2023. He is a 2016 alum of the PFBC’s esteemed training program.

In recognition of outstanding achievement in the detection and apprehension of impaired boaters, the Top Gun Award went to WCO Kyle Robinson of Mifflin and northern Huntingdon counties. Robinson, a 2020 graduate of the H.R. Stackhouse School, showcased remarkable vigilance in 2023 by conducting 41 days of onboard boat patrols, resulting in 838 boardings, the issuance of 637 warnings, 117 citations, and making seven arrests for Boating Under the Influence.

WCO Michael Blair from southern Bucks County received the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Butch Potts Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award for Pennsylvania. Blair’s exemplary efforts in 2023 included 31 days of onboard boat patrols, 320 boardings, 180 citations, and two arrests for Boating Under the Influence, reflecting his commitment to ensuring safety and compliance on the water.

A Lifesaving Award was presented to WCO Logan Opfer, serving western Armstrong County, for his heroic response to a dog attack incident on March 5, 2024. Opfer, who joined the force in 2022, received commendation for his quick action and use of first aid training, which significantly reduced the victim’s bleeding until emergency medical services arrived, ultimately saving the man’s life.

These awards not only celebrate the individual achievements of these officers but also highlight the vital role that all Waterways Conservation Officers play in safeguarding Pennsylvania’s waterways and aquatic environments. Through their unwavering dedication to law enforcement, environmental protection, and community engagement, these officers set a high standard for conservation efforts across the Commonwealth.

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