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06/22/2024 09:58 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20230&cosponId=42456
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 5, 2024 03:06 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Further Body Camera Authorization at the Game Commission and Fish & Boat Commission
 
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation that will authorize deputy law enforcement officers with both the Fish & Boat Commission and the Game Commission to wear body cameras.
 
Ten years ago, we passed legislation that became Act 202, granting authority for trained officers of both agencies to wear body cameras.  Waterways Conservation Officers of the Fish & Boat Commission and certain Officers and Wildlife Conservation Officers (now known as State Game Wardens) of the Game Commission were thus able to receive training and wear these devices.  At that time, deputies of the agencies were purposefully excluded, and this prohibition remains in statute.    
 
Body worn cameras are an invaluable tool for modern law enforcement.  They provide an accurate and unbiased account of officer engagement, protecting the integrity of citizens and officers alike.  In this case, the importance is amplified as law enforcement from both agencies work independently and in remote areas, oftentimes in locations that have poor radio and cellphone coverage, and frequently encounter individuals who are themselves armed.  Additionally, the nature of law enforcement within these agencies is evolving as officers are increasingly confronting serious drug activity and other criminal cases outside of the scope of sporting safety and wildlife protection.      
 
Keeping with current law, this is not a mandate.  Rather, the final decision will reside with each agency.  Funding would come from the Fish Fund and the Game Fund, respectively.
 
I invite you to join in this effort to offer increased protections for our Deputy Waterways Conservation Officers and Deputy State Game Wardens.



Introduced as SB1194