For Release: Tuesday, August 30, 2011
ECO Anthony Panipinto Honored As Top New York Wildlife Conservation Officer
Oswego County Officer Receives Officer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Anthony Panipinto received the 2010 "Officer of the Year" award from the Shikar-Safari Club International in a ceremony hosted by long-time Club member Robert Stackler, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
"ECO Panipinto has clearly demonstrated true commitment to protecting our State's rich natural resources," said Commissioner Martens. "Officer Panipinto appreciates and has a vested interest in diligently enforcing the environmental conservation laws of New York and deserves the honor bestowed upon him by the distinguished Shikar-Safari Club International."
Shikar-Safari Club International was founded in 1952 by an international group of hunters interested in exchanging ideas about the sport. Each year the club sponsors an award for the Wildlife Conservation Police Officer of the Year in all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and the territories of both nations, acknowledging the important part ECOs play in local, national, and international wildlife conservation.
ECO Panipinto was born and raised in Livingston County and attended Monroe County Community College and SUNY Brockport, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. He attended and graduated from the 13th Basic Academy for Environmental Conservation Officers, a 26 week residential police academy held at SUNY Oswego in 2000. After graduation Tony was assigned to Region 2 and patrolled the New York City borough of Brooklyn until he transferred to Region 7 and Oswego County in 2002. Typical among New York's 270 uniformed ECOs, Panipinto's primary responsibility is enforcing the environmental conservation law. This includes hunting, fishing and trapping laws, investigating releases of petroleum, asbestos and other hazardous substances, investigating water pollution, wetland damage, timber theft and wild animals unlawfully kept as pets.
ECO Panipinto was recognized for numerous successful fish and wildlife investigations that he led including cases he worked undercover. Among those cases was Operation Green Mountain, a 2003 case where ECO Panipinto, while undercover, collected evidence against nine individuals and companies which resulted in 28 criminal charges for the illegal commercialization of New York state freshwater fish. Another noteworthy case involved a complaint of deer jacking that initially started with no positive leads or physical evidence. His attention to detail led to the discovery of trace amounts of evidence. That evidence combined with skilled interviewing techniques resulted in confessions and the case was ultimately resolved with three individuals paying more than $9,700 in fines for the illegal taking of three deer with the aid of a spotlight.
ECO Panipinto also has completed the Instructor Development School and is a Division of Criminal Justice Services certified Police Instructor in Firearms, Emergency Vehicle Operation and Seaborne Emergency Vehicle Operation. He has participated in training ECO recruits in five basic schools. ECO Panipinto also has developed innovative methods for instructing firearms training for both the Division of Law Enforcement as well as for DEC's wildlife program staff.
ECO Panipinto's professional work ethic and commitment to his profession resulted in him being nominated and receiving the Shikar Safari Club Officer of the Year award. Tony resides in the Oswego County town of Constantia with his wife Tammy, seven-year-old son Dylan and three-year-old daughter Sierra.