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For Release: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

DEC and Niagara County District Attorney Announce Arrests of Duo Who Injured Officer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Niagara County District Attorney's Office today announced the arrest of a pair of defendants involved in the injury of an Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) who was attempting to stop the men in Niagara County in late July.

James J. Olscamp, 30, of Sanborn, and Dean R. Banks, 52, of Niagara Falls, voluntarily turned themselves in to New York State Police Lockport barracks late Wednesday evening and were arrested by ECOs with DEC's Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigations (BECI) unit. They were arraigned in Wheatfield Town Court later in the evening, with Olscamp being charged with Reckless Endangerment in the 1st Degree, a class D felony, Tampering with Evidence, a class E felony, Obstruction of Governmental Administration, a class A misdemeanor, and Trespassing, a violation; Banks was charged with Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree, a misdemeanor, Obstruction of Governmental Administration and Trespassing.

"Every day our Environmental Conservation Police Officers are on the frontlines protecting New Yorkers and their environment and face some of the most dangerous conditions of any law enforcement professionals in the state," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "This incident was completely preventable and I thank Sheriff Voutour and the Niagara County Sherriff's Department, and District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek for their help with bringing these perpetrators to justice."

The charges stem from an incident that occurred on July 22, when ECO Shea Mathis responded to a report of trespassing on private property on Liberty Road in the town of Wheatfield.

When ECO Mathis attempted to stop the two men who were operating an ATV and a UTV, both operators refused to stop. Banks, driving the ATV, nearly ran over Mathis when ordered to stop and sped from the scene. When ECO Mathis attempted to place Olscamp under arrest, the man refused to stop, dragging Mathis while attempting to flee. ECO Mathis sustained cuts and bruises to his legs and arms and injuries to his forehead after being dragged 400 yards.

ECO Mathis requested assistance through the county 911 system. Niagara County Deputy Sheriff's responded along with State Police and Department of Homeland Security officers. ECO Mathis was transported to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and was released later that night.

Twitter posts by Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour generated tips that led investigators to tracking down the subjects.

If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

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