Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Criminal Justice

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Alex Ekwuaju


The goal of this paper is to assist conservation officers in risk mitigation. The purpose of this study is to identify risk factors affecting the safety of waterways conservation officers in Pennsylvania. Its primary focus is on verbal assault, physical assault, use of force, accidents, injuries and illnesses. This research includes a qualitative analysis of original survey data provided by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the findings have been compared to studies of conservation agencies in Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana. The results indicate that there are similar risk factors for conservation officers of those four agencies. Furthermore, it indicates that the nature of resource use is changing and that natural resource agencies are merging and evolving from a conservation-specific focus to that of a more general police-style posture in order to meet the challenges of changing demographics. This change in responsibilities and focus, coupled with the unconventional nature of conservation law enforcement patrol practices, results in higher risk patrols.



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