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​The six members of the 17th Waterways Conservation Officer Class graduated from training at ceremonies held September 7 at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Headquarters in Harrisburg. Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Dr. Douglas Austen presided over the ceremonies.

Waterways Conservation Officers make up the law enforcement arm of the Fish and Boat Commission, though the duties of a WCO go beyond police work. WCOs perform specialized work in fisheries conservation and watercraft safety, education and public relations – responsibilities that are emphasized through specialized training. The graduation marked the successful completion of a course of instruction that began more than one year ago. The officers completed Municipal Police Officer Training, provided by the Pennsylvania State Police, followed by Conservation Officer Training. In addition to classroom and practical training at the Commission's H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety, the officers completed field training with experienced waterways conservation officers.

The Honorable Michael J. Eakin, Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, administered the Oath of Office. Class President James M. Smolko spoke on behalf of the graduates. Jeffrey B. Giardina was awarded the Edward W. Manhart Award in Academic Achievement for maintaining the highest grade point average during training.

Graduates, their hometown and new district patrol assignment include:

​Graduate ​Hometown ​Assigned to
Patrick W. Ferko Central City, PA Southern York County​
Jeffrey B. Giardina Transfer, PA Western Mercer County
Gregory A. Pochron Oil City, PA Clarion County
James M. Smolko Petersburg, PA Eastern Erie County
Edward K. Stuart Indiana, PA Erie County
Lewis W. Sweigart, Jr. Elizabethtown, PA Delaware County

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