Pennsylvania gained 25 new wildlife conservation officers on February 28.
The 30th Class of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Ross Leffler School of Conservation graduated during a ceremony at Susquehanna Township Middle School. The graduates were commissioned as officers, and have been assigned to their new districts. For the first time in over a decade, every one of the agency’s 136 WCO districts will be filled.
Members of the 30th class, their hometowns and their new assignments can be found here.
Thirty-one cadets from all across the state arrived at the training school on March 9, 2014. After 51 weeks of intensive training, 25 cadets successfully completed the program. These individuals have emerged ready to meet the challenges of a district wildlife conservation officer.
Wildlife Conservation Officer Duties
Game Commission WCOs are responsible for administering a wide variety of agency programs within an assigned district of about 350 square miles. Primary duties include law enforcement, responding to wildlife conflicts, conservation education and administration of the Hunter-Trapper Education program. Officers also are responsible for supervising and training part-time deputy wildlife conservation officers.
Ross Leffler School of Conservation History
In 1930, Ross Leffler, then president of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, proposed the establishment of a training school for game protectors. When the training school opened its doors in 1932, in Brockway Jefferson County, it was the first such conservation officer training school in the world and served as a model for other states.
From 1932 until 1935, the Ross Leffler School or Conservation offered in-service training for game protectors. The Commission voted to make the school a permanent facility and enrolled its first class of trainees in 1936, and continued training new classes at this facility until 1986. In 1987, the training school was moved to the Harrisburg headquarters.
Past, Present and Future
Six-hundred-seventy-three individuals have graduated from the Ross Leffler School of Conservation since the first class enrolled in 1936.
“These men and women are the face of the Pennsylvania Game Commission for the next 25 years and we are confident that they will serve the agency and the public well,” said Pennsylvania Game Commission Director of Training Timothy Grenoble.