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The 15 members of the 15th Waterways Conservation Officer Class graduated from training at ceremonies held on September 15, 2000 at the Fish and Boat Commission's Headquarters in Harrisburg. Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo presided over the ceremonies.

The ceremonies marked the completion of a course of training that began more than one year ago. The officers completed Municipal Police Office Training, provided by the Pennsylvania State Police, and Conservation Officer Training, overseen by Guy Bowersox, Assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Law Enforcement. 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 ceremonies began with the presentation of the colors by the Fish and Boat Commission Color Guard and the National Anthem, which was song by Sandra Patrick of the Fish and Boat Commission's Bureau of Boating and Education. The constitutional oath of office was administered to the new officers by Dennis Guise, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Counsel.

Edward W. Manhart, retired Director of the Bureau of Law Enforcement, gave the graduation message to the 15th WCO Class. Manhart emphasized professionalism as the hallmark of the conservation officer.

Jeffrey A. Barber, president of the 15th Class, gave a response on behalf of the graduating class. WCO Barber's message was followed by presentation of diplomas and credentials by Ted Keir, President of the Commission, and Peter A. Colangelo, Executive Director.

Guy Bowersox, Assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Law Enforcement and its training chief, announced the 15th WCO Class Awards. The Edwin W. Manhart Academic Achievement Award was presented to WCO Kadin D. Thompson. WCO Joseph P. Russell received the Certificate of Excellence for Firearms Proficiency, achieving a score of 96.10 during firearms training. Special recognition awards were presented to WCOs Joshua O. Roland, Jonathan R. Kay, Jeffrey A. Barber and Thomas J. Crist.

The Class delivered the following message: May we follow in the footsteps of our predecessors in their quest to improve our waterways.  In doing so, we promise to strive -- both professionally and ethically -- to do our best at times while seeking the attainment of that goal. We ask those we serve to assist us in our journey.

The ceremonies ended with a benediction and the singing of "God Bless the USA" by Sergeant Kevin Pierce of the Pennsylvania State Police.

The ceremonies were followed by a picnic lunch and tours of the Commission's headquarters.