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For Release: Thursday, August 23, 2012

Robert Peinkofer Honored as Top New York Wildlife Conservation Police Officer

Region 9 ECO Receives Officer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Robert Peinkofer received the 2011 "Officer of the Year" award from the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association (NECLECA), DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"DEC's Environmental Conservation Officers are on the front line daily in their efforts to protect our wildlife, natural resources and citizens," Commissioner Martens said. "Throughout his career, ECO Peinkofer has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment that has earned the respect of both the public and his peers. I extend my congratulations to him on this well-deserved honor."

NECLECA consists of law enforcement chiefs from 13 Northeastern states, three Eastern provinces of Canada, and the United States and Canadian Federal Conservation Law Enforcement agencies. Each year, the club sponsors an award for the Wildlife Conservation Officer of the Year in all 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces and the territories of both nations, acknowledging the important role that Conservation Police Officers play in local, national, and international wildlife conservation. NECLECA's award was presented to Peinkofer by Law Enforcement Division Director Peter Fanelli at the annual meeting of the New York Conservation Officers' Association held earlier this month in Watkins Glen, NY.

ECO Peinkofer has served with distinction in DEC's Division of Law Enforcement for more than 16 years. Born and raised in Erie County, NY, Peinkofer served for two and a half years in the U.S. Army before earning his degree in Criminal Justice. After completing DEC's 11th Basic Academy for Police Officers in 1996, Peinkofer was initially assigned to patrol the Staten Island area of New York City in Region Two. Three years later he transferred home to Region 9, where he has been patrolling since.

As a member of Region 9's Marine Off-road Recreation Enforcement (MORE), Peinkofer captains DEC's 31-foot SAFE boat - one of the agency's largest vessels. His patrols on the waters of Lake Erie and the Niagara River include numerous fish and wildlife enforcement successes, several emergency rescues, two private plane crash recoveries and regular assistance to the NYS Police Dive Team who rely on the SAFE boat as their primary dive platform.

In 2008, ECO Peinkofer was assigned as a Non-Sector Officer (NSO), expanding his patrol area to all of Region 9's six counties. In addition to the successful resolution of countless fish and wildlife enforcement cases and arrest warrant details, some highlights of ECO Peinkofer's enforcement career include assistance on a case of felony commercialization of striped bass, Operation Clean Sweep in New York City and a case involving the death of Bald Eagle due to negligence and mishandling by rehabilitators.

During his years of service with DEC's Division of Law Enforcement, ECO Peinkofer has also supported responses to several major events including his assistance as a first responder to the 9-11 world trade center tragedy and Buffalo's Flight 3407 Plane Crash. He was also a member of the cooperative law enforcement team that resolved the Bucky Phillips search.

ECO Peinkofer is a certified police instructor in General Topics, field training (FTO) as well as Emergency Vehicle Operation (EVOC, Sea-Voc, and ATV- EVOC). He is a member of DEC Division of Law Enforcement's Honor Guard and has completed certification in Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicle Emissions Inspection, RADAR operation and DWI Detection/Field Sobriety testing.

Among ECO Peinkofer's most noteworthy achievements are his longstanding commitment to both the EnCon Police Union and the New York Conservation Officers' Association (NYCOA). In addition to service terms as both the Vice President and President of the EnCon Police Union, Peinkofer has served as NYCOA's Vice President since 2009, where he has worked to significantly improve the Officer's family emergency relief fund and to support the "Hunt of a Lifetime" foundation - a not-for-profit organization that grants hunting and fishing dreams to children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Earlier this summer, Peinkofer coordinated NYCOA's first annual golf tournament to benefit this organization, raising $18,000 for NY children to participate in the "Hunt of a Lifetime."

When Allegany County Sheriff Derrick Ward was killed in the line of duty in 2005, Peinkofer helped to organize a fundraiser that raised $12,800 for Sheriff Ward's expectant wife and three-year-old daughter.

Peinkofer resides in Elma, NY with his wife and two daughters.

Photos available upon request.

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