SD Game, Fish & Parks To Equip Conservation Officers, Park Rangers With Body Cameras
The next time you encounter a conservation officer with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks… smile, because you’ll likely be recorded. More than 70 department employees will soon have body cameras, including all officers and park rangers.
Marty Pennock has been a conservation officer with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks for 24 years.
Pennock said, “I love the outdoors. I love the public. I love the interaction with people.”
The job takes him all over the southeast portion of the state. His region alone covers 20 counties in South Dakota.
“What we’re doing is checking for compliance,” said Pennock. “Making contacts with landowners, enforcing rules and regulations within the state.”
Pennock says the job often takes officers far away from their vehicles. So rather than having cameras on their trucks or boats, they will all be equipped with body cameras.
“The body camera will obviously go with us wherever we’re at so we’re able to record away from the roadway,” said Pennock. “It’s going to record all the activities that we do no matter where we’re at, whether it’s in a remote wildlife area or in a city parking lot.”
When officers come into contact with people in the public, Pennock says that’s when they’ll start recording. This footage can be helpful in court; used as evidence in criminal cases. He says it also increases safety and transparency.
Pennock said, “The body camera is going to account for and record all of the activities that the officer is involved in. It’s going to certainly show some of the negative things that we deal with, but it’s also going to show the positive things too and the many things that we do outside of law enforcement.”
Pennock says some officers have already received their body cameras. The officers in the southeast portion of the state will be trained on how and when to use them this week.