The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is pleased to announce that Southern York County Waterways Conservation Officer Darrin Kephart received an award as one of several Northeast Fish and Wildlife Officers of the Year at a ceremony held on April 4, 2016, at the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife's annual conference, which was held in Annapolis, Maryland. WCO Kephart received his award from Colonel Kyle Overturf, Director of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection- State Environmental Conservation Police.

Here is an excerpt from his nomination: "WCO Kephart’s patrol district is composed of a vast diversity of public safety and resource protection responsibilities, to which he successfully addresses through a dynamic, multi-faceted patrol scheme. Within the scope of fishing related enforcement, WCO Kephart focused on protecting the Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass with increased enforcement of the “catch and immediately release” rules. WCO Kephart also participated in multiple Special Enforcement details for preseason and in-season trout stocking endeavors.

Within the scope of boating related enforcement, WCO Kephart served as the lead enforcement officer on Lake Clarke and the Conowingo Reservoir committing 31 on the water patrol shifts during the 2015 recreational boating season. WCO Kephart conducted 430 vessel boardings, and issued 872 warnings for various fishing and boating infractions. During this boating season, WCO Kephart planned, facilitated and participated in 5 Boating Safety/BUI Special Enforcement Details.

With regards to property protection, WCO Kephart planned and conducted multiple late night patrol schemes, focusing on after hours misconduct at several PFBC access properties and control of property locations.

WCO Kephart was selected to be a team member of the newly developed SWERT Team, a specially trained swift water emergency team. WCO Kephart was also nominated and selected to be a member of the PA HART Team, a specialized force of Officers partnered with the Pennsylvania National Guard intensely trained in airborne and shore-based emergency rescue operations during severe flooding environments."

Previous awards received by WCO Kephart include:
2004 Lifesaving award as a DWCO
2007 Leadership award for 18th WCO Class
2009 NASBLA Boating Officer of the Year nominee
2010 Southcentral Region Boating Officer of the Year
2010 Southcentral Region Officer of the Year nominee
2010 Lifesaving Award
2012 York County Conservation District, Outstanding Partner Award.
2014 Southcentral Region Boating Officer of the Year
2014 NASBLA Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
2015 NECLECA Officer of the Year

Facebook and YouTube channel followers might recognize WCO Kephart as the arresting officer in the PFBC's "Don't Drink and Boat" video, which was posted last year to help raise awareness of BUI's. If you have not yet seen this video, we encourage you to view it and share it now. This video reminds boaters that operation of a boat while under the influence is against the law. Operators who boat under the influence risk penalties that include loss of boating privileges, significant fines, and imprisonment. They also take a bigger risk--the risk of the lives of passengers, other boaters and themselves. Don't drink and boat. Sober boating is the law!

Congratulations, WCO Kephart, on this well-deserved award!

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