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Environmental protection police on patrol


For release: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Law Enforcement Division of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) enforces all 71 chapters of the State of New York, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality throughout New York State. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State. In 2021, 282 Environmental Conservation Police (ECO) officers and investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching, solid waste dumping, illegal mining, black market pet trade. , and excessive emissions violations.

“DEC’s Environmental Protection law enforcement officers and investigators are on the front lines every day to protect our natural resources by complying with New York’s environmental laws and regulations and protecting public health,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Whether it’s ensuring hunters and anglers follow rules and regulations on the land and on the water, or maintaining partnerships with local law enforcement agencies investigating crimes such as solid waste dumping and air emissions violations, ECOs and investigators are on patrol, ready to serve their communities. year brings new challenges, and fortunately, these officers and investigators are expertly trained to carry out their duties with perseverance, integrity and good judgment, as they have done for over a century. »

77th United Nations General Assembly Security Detail – New York County
Each year, the United Nations General Assembly welcomes diplomats from around the world, as well as the President of the United States. Southern District ECOs assisted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and United States Secret Service in providing security for events between September 18 and 24. The ECOs piloted patrol vessels during the arrival and departure of the President. The larger patrol vessel monitored security zones established by the USCG in lower Manhattan on the East River and surrounding airports in New York City. Officers helped the Secret Service interdict illegal drone operators during the event.

ECO patrol vessel in front of the UN

ECOs on a boat watch a helicopter enter the harbor
ECO Bobseine and Lt. Latimer on the DEC patrol boat upon the arrival of the President

Illegal Dump Bust – Otsego County
On September 19, ECO received a report of an ongoing illegal dumping of solid waste in the Maryland city. ECO Vencak and Lt. Terrell responded to the complaint and determined, through witness interviews, that an absentee New Jersey homeowner hired two Capital Area subjects to dismantle a trailer and allowed them to sell scrap metal. The construction debris, intended for proper disposal at a local transfer station, ended up illegally dumped in Otsego County and the city of Albany. ECO contacted the owner who cooperated with officers and contacted the subjects, who claimed they would clean up the mess. Subjects returned to the Otsego County location and loaded the debris back into their rental truck. ECO convicted the couple of illegal solid waste disposal and illegal trespassing. Charges are still pending in Albany, where officers found more solid waste, illegally dumped by the same men, on vacant land.

flashlight shines in a moving truck full of debris and trash
Illegally dumped solid waste found in Otsego County

Children enjoy several hunting and fishing events – Orange and Rockland Counties
On September 24, ECOs in Orange and Rockland Counties participated in two youth hunting and fishing events. At Stewart State Forest in the town of Montgomery, DEC and the Orange County Federation of Sports Clubs (OCFSC) co-sponsored a youth pheasant hunt in which more than 20 young hunters had the opportunity to pursue and take pheasants stocked by DEC and OCFSC. Less crowded hunting conditions, experienced adult hunters and dog handlers, and mild weather combined to provide an exceptional mountain hunting experience for junior hunters. In Rockland County, the DEC and the Rockland United Sports Association hosted a National Fish and Game Day event at Congers Lake Memorial Park in the town of Clarkstown. These free events help maintain and grow New York’s hunting and fishing traditions. Over 200 youngsters enjoyed a day filled with instruction and hunting and fishing opportunities, including an archery range and bamboo poles to continue their fly fishing.

That’s Not a Squirrel – Niagara County
On September 25, while driving through the Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area patrolling for late season goose hunters, Lt. Ver Hague observed a hunter at his car just before sunset. The ECO stopped to check with the hunter, who claimed to hunt squirrels and not geese. At the same time, Lt. Ver Hague noticed the hunter attempting to close the trunk of his car and observed a protruding foot that appeared larger than a squirrel’s foot. Upon further inspection, the officer determined that the foot was that of a raccoon, and raccoon hunting season does not open until October 25. ECO Holzle arrived on the scene shortly after this discovery and issued the man a ticket for hunting raccoons out of season.

ECO holds a dead raccoon by the paw
ECO Holzle with an illegally killed raccoon out of season

All Tangled Up – Chautauqua County
On September 27, ECO Mead received a report of a deer with its head stuck in a swing in Jamestown. The caller reported that the animal struggled to break free for about 45 minutes. When Officer Meade arrived, the caller showed him the four-point male entangled in a large swing with a 25-foot rope. The animal could run more than 20 feet in any direction only to be dragged back and swept up to eight feet in the air before collapsing, often in and around nearby smaller trees. As daylight rapidly declined, Constable Mead taped his knife to a long stick and grabbed a flashlight. Doing his best to avoid the wild hooves of the animal, after several attempts the ECO freed the animal without hurting himself or the deer by cutting the rope and preventing the deer from re-entanglement. The male fled showing no sign of significant harm.

Pay Tribute – Suffolk County
On September 29, ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer made their annual pilgrimage to Pine Lawn Cemetery in Suffolk County to pay their respects to deceased Game Protector William Cramer, K9 Cramer’s namesake. Cramer was murdered by poachers in 1929 while trying to arrest them for illegally killing songbirds. ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer visit the cemetery annually on September 29 to honor a fallen officer and salute his ultimate sacrifice in defense of New York State’s natural resources.

ECO K9 is sitting next to the tombstone
K9 Cramer honors late Game Warden Cramer

Sniffing Bags of Blackfish – Nassau County
On October 2, K9 Cramer joined ECO investigating an illegal fishing case in Nassau County. ECOs Kochanowski and Macropoulos observed a fisherman catch an out of season black fish under one of the Wantagh Parkway bridges, put it in a bag and throw it into the rocks. When officers approached, the fisherman appeared to have packed his bags and left the area. The ECOs were surprised that the subject had no fish and only fishing gear. After a hasty search of the area failed to uncover the poached fish, officers contacted ECO DeRose to bring in K9 Cramer. Cramer searched the area where the subject was fishing, but focused on a nearby location. Officer DeRose widened the search area and after getting to the other side of the bridge, Cramer quickly walked through much of the vegetation and alerted his handler. ECO DeRose moved in and discovered several black bags containing black fish. Officers convicted the angler of keeping blackfish out of season and not releasing the blackfish without undue harm, back in Nassau County District Court. To see a video of one of K9 Cramer’s training missions with his handler ECO DeRose, visit DEC’s YouTube page (leaves DEC’s website).

K9 ECO on a leash sits next to several dead fish
K9 Out of Season Black Fish Cramer

The Donut Hole – Sullivan County
On October 2, ECOs Parker and Doroski completed a bear baiting investigation in the town of Forestburgh. Using intelligence gathered by investigators from DEC’s Environmental Crimes Investigations Office, ECOs identified an area of ​​state land potentially baited for bears. After traveling several miles over several days, the ECOs located two hunting spots on the ridge that appeared to be baited, as the land near the hunting stations and blinds was freshly disturbed. ECOs set off just at daybreak and located an individual bowhunting the bear over the bait in one of the suspect stands. The bait consisted of donuts placed in trees, smeared on tree bark and placed in tree knots. The hunter initially claimed that the donuts, including the large packet of donuts in his backpack, were for his own consumption and that he had simply dropped the others. The ECO accused the hunter of hunting the bear using bait, failing to display a backtag, injuring trees on state land, littering the land of the state, failing to label booths/blinds with a name/address and several other state property violations. The ECOs were assisted by Lt. Buckley who helped process the individual and the evidence.

donuts inside the knot of a tree
Donuts inside tree stump in Sullivan County bear bait case

Deer Meets Football Net – Otsego County
On October 12, ECO Vencak responded to reports of a deer being trapped in a football goal net at Hartwick College in the town of Oneonta. Officer Vencak managed to cover the yearling deer with a blanket and hold him long enough for Hartwick employees to cut the net and free the deer. The animal fled into the woods unharmed after the incident.

a deer lays on the grass while tangled in a blue football net
Deer tangled in a football net at Hartwick College in Otsego County.

ECO covers the deer with a blanket and holds it while another person cuts the football net
ECO Vencak holding a deer while a Hartwick College employee cuts a football net

To contact an ECO to report an environmental crime or to report an incident, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS for 24-hour dispatch or email [email protected] (for non-emergency violations).