Harrisburg, PA -(Ammoland.com)- Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) Executive Director R. Matthew Hough today offered his praise to the state House of Representatives for its overwhelming and bipartisan support of House Bill 2178.
Sponsored by state Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams County, the bill would allow Wildlife Conservation Officers working for the Game Commission and Waterways Conservation Officers working for the state Fish and Boat Commission to wear body cameras in the performance of their official duties.
Hough thanked Moul for recognizing the need for the cameras, and for making officer safety an issue of high priority.
“There simply is no question that these mobile video-recording devices play a key role in improving safety for law-enforcement officers.” Hough said. “The mere presence of cameras can quickly defuse what might otherwise become hostile situations, and cameras often capture valuable evidence that increases the chances of successful prosecutions.”
“With its thoughtful consideration and its vote to send Representative Moul’s legislation to the Senate, the House of Representatives has stepped up to increase protection for our Wildlife Conservation Officers, and for Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and sportswomen.” Hough said. “We’re hopeful the Senate will give the bill swift consideration so it can be set in place in time for the upcoming hunting seasons.”
Body cameras are mobile video-recording devices that can be clipped onto an officer’s uniform. They’re similar to the dashboard cameras installed in most law-enforcement vehicles, but can be considered more suitable for Wildlife Conservation Officers who often patrol while on foot.
The use of body cameras already has been expressly approved by the state Legislature for other police agencies statewide.
The bill to allow Wildlife Conservation Officers and Waterways Conservation Officers to use the cameras passed the House by a 191-5 vote.
Moul, whose legislative district includes the area of Adams County where Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove was shot and killed by a poacher in 2010, said he sponsored the legislation as a way to increase officer safety.
“Wildlife and Waterways Conservation Officers routinely encounter dangerous situations on the job.” Moul said. “Tragically, Adams County Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a felon in illegal possession of a firearm in 2010. I believe the presence of body cameras may help to deter such crimes and would aid law enforcement in their investigations.”
About the Pennsylvania Game Commission
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is legally mandated to manage wildlife for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians, as well as all wildlife and the habitat that supports their existence. Pennsylvania’s Constitution and Game and Wildlife Code direct the Game Commission to protect, manage, and preserve wildlife and their habitat within the Commonwealth for the benefit of all people, including generations yet to come. Based on this direction, the Game Commission adopted the mission statement “to manage all wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats for current and future generations.”