Baker Introduces Legislation to Equip Deputy Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers with Body Cameras

HARRISBURG – Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) recently introduced legislation to authorize deputy law enforcement officers with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission to wear body cameras.

Ten years ago, the passage of Act 202 authorized trained officers of both agencies to wear body cameras, including waterways conservation officers of the Fish and Boat Commission and wildlife conservation officers – now state game wardens – of the Game Commission. However, deputies of the agencies were intentionally excluded from the authorization – a prohibition that remains in effect. Baker’s Senate Bill 1194 would extend the benefits of body-worn cameras to the excluded deputies.

“Body cameras are a crucial tool for modern law enforcement. They provide an accurate and unbiased account of officer engagements, ensuring the protection and integrity of both citizens and officers,” Baker said. “Officers from these agencies often work independently in remote areas with poor radio and cellphone coverage and frequently encounter armed individuals. Additionally, their role has evolved to include confronting serious drug activity and other criminal cases beyond sporting safety and wildlife protection. Our officers deserve enhanced safety and accountability while working under challenging conditions.”

The proposed legislation would not impose a mandate, but leaves the final decision to each agency. Funding for the body cameras would come from the Fish Fund and the Game Fund.

Jennifer Wilson

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