PA Game Commission Recruits 29th WCO Class
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe announced Monday that the agency is preparing to recruit applicants for its 29th Class of Wildlife Conservation Officer Cadets, which is slated to begin in March of 2012.
The application process is set to run from March 9, 2011, to April 7, 2011, or until 1,000 applications are received, whichever occurs first. Online applications may be submitted via the State Civil Service Commission’s Web site (www.scsc.state.pa.us). However, no applications will be accepted until the test announcement is issued from the Civil Service Commission. Announcements may be viewed on the Civil Service Commission’s Web site, click on “Job Seekers,” then select “Law Enforcement, Investigation and Safety,” and scroll down to the listing for “Wildlife Conservation Officer Cadet.” For additional information regarding the recruitment process, life as a cadet and duties of a wildlife conservation officer, please visit at (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on the “Wildlife Conservation Officer Careers” icon in the center of the homepage.
Wildlife conservation officers are covered by the Civil Service Act of Pennsylvania. Applicants for these positions must be in excellent physical condition, have knowledge of hunting and outdoor activities, and be able to maintain an effective working relationship with associates and the general public.
Employees in this classification are selected and appointed following a competitive examination conducted by the Civil Service Commission. Officers begin their careers as cadets assigned to the Ross Leffler School of Conservation, the Game Commission’s in- service training school located in Harrisburg, Pa. Wildlife conservation officer cadet classes are periodically recruited as necessary to maintain the complement of field personnel.
Applicants must be: a resident of Pennsylvania; have a high school diploma or G.E.D. equivalency; at least 21 years of age by March 1, 2012; possess a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license; and pass competitive written and oral examinations administered by the Civil Service Commission. Those interested in enrolling also must have possessed a hunting or furtaking license for two license years as of March 2011.
Any offer of employment is conditional upon successful completion of medical, vision, hearing, physical, strength, stress, agility and swimming tests, which include swimming for 100 yards and treading water for five minutes.
A confidential pre-employment background and character investigation will be completed on all applicants considered for appointment.
After being accepted for employment, wildlife conservation officer cadets are required to complete an intensive 50-week training program conducted at the Training School.
Currently, Cadets are paid $1161.60 biweekly and receive a standard commonwealth employee benefits package. Lodging and meals are provided at the Training School at no charge.
During weekdays, cadets are required to reside at the school. Weekends are generally free of duty. On dutyfree weekends cadets must vacate the training school. Housing accommodations for the families of cadets are not available. Absences may be granted only under emergency conditions or as the training schedule may permit.
Major subject areas of instruction include: wildlife management; law enforcement; principles and methods; wildlife laws and regulations; land management practices; public relations and conservation education; firearms training and unarmed self- defense; and agency administrative procedures. In addition to classroom studies, the training program includes temporary field assignments with experienced officers. Field training provides cadets with practical experience in law enforcement and other duties performed by wildlife conservation officers. Ca-dets are reimbursed for authorized expenses incurred on these assignments.
Upon successfully completing the training program, cadets are promoted to the position of wildlife conservation officer and are assigned to fill vacancies throughout the commonwealth. The current annual starting salary for a wildlife conservation officer is $38,995. Wildlife Conservation Officers are responsible for administering a wide variety of Commission 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 directing and training part- time deputy wildlife conservation officers.
The Game Commission provides all necessary equipment for wildlife conservation officers to perform their duties: uniforms, firearms, a fully-equipped automobile, personal computer and office furnishings. Officers work from their residences and are subsidized for rental of office space.
Wildlife conservation officers work under the supervision of a regional director and supervisory staff. Officers generally work 40 hours per week and are eligible for overtime under certain conditions. Hours of work vary and often include nights, weekends and holidays.