Game officer with Vineyard connection begins Island beat
Martha's Vineyard is a community that values the outdoors. But for many months the Island has been without the full-time services of a member of the Massachusetts Environmental Police, the agency responsible for enforcing the laws governing fishing, hunting, and boating. That changed this week.
Sergeant Matt Bass began work on Monday. As the Island's newest environmental police officer (EPO), his beat includes the Island's fields and woodlands as well as its surrounding waters.
Once known as game wardens with responsibility for state hunting and fishing regulations, the EPO portfolio has expanded to include commercial fishing regulations, boating safety rules, all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and environmental protection.
The last full-time EPO specifically assigned to the Vineyard was Environmental Police Sgt. Pat Grady, who for several years commuted from his home on the Cape. That coverage ended last October when the Massachusetts Office of Law Enforcement shifted staff to accommodate budget cuts and personnel changes. As a result, environmental police were assigned to Martha's Vineyard on a rotation basis.
Sergeant Matt Bass, 39, lives in Bourne with his wife and three children, aged 10, 7, and 3. But he will have no trouble finding his way around his new post.
For now he will commute, but Mr. Bass can rely on an extended family network when his job requires night work. His is married to the former Bridget Penicaud, a graduate of Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and the oldest of Dominique and Margaret Penicaud of Vineyard Haven's seven children. Ms. Bass is an occupational therapist in the Bourne school system
Mr. Bass grew up in New Hampshire but enjoyed summer holidays at his family's seasonal house on Chappaquiddick. While attending the University of New Hampshire where he studied marine biology he worked for The Trustees of Reservations, the conservation group that manages much of the Chappy beachfront. He was a beach ranger, a job he continued to hold full-time after graduation.
Working for The Trustees gave him an interest in environmental law enforcement. He next moved to a law enforcement job with the U.S. Park Service at the Cape Cod National Seashore. In 2001 he joined the Mass Environmental Police.
When the Vineyard slot was due to be filled Mr. Bass put his name in for the job. "Some other people didn't want it," he said, "and I jumped at it the first chance I got."