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For Release: Monday, July 29, 2013

Wyoming County Environmental Conservation Officer Named "Officer of the Year"

by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Roger Ward was recently named New York State ECO of the Year by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA).

"By serving with integrity and working to protect New York's natural resources, ECO Ward along with other committed Environmental Conservation Officers perform valuable services that benefit our environment and our communities every day," Commissioner Martens said. "I congratulate Officer Ward on this distinguished acknowledgement by the NYSRPA."

The NYSRPA is the state's leading organization in promoting rifle marksmanship and competition. The NYSRPA recognizes one ECO each year, acknowledging the important role ECOs play in hunter education and safe firearms usage among sportsmen, women and youth. Officer Ward was selected by a statewide committee of ECOs to receive this recognition.

Originally from Livingston County, Ward graduated with honors from SUNY Brockport before accepting the position of ECO in January of 2002. After serving as an ECO in Nassau County for two years, Ward transferred to Wyoming County where he has served since.

Throughout his career, ECO Ward has maintained his life-long commitment to education and training. Since 2005, he has been a certified General Topic Instructor, Firearms Instructor and Emergency Vehicle Operation Course Instructor. Since 2008, Ward has served as the Senior Police Firearms Instructor for DEC's Region 9. He has received two Captain's Commendations - one for outstanding investigative work on a deer poaching case and the other for assistance with the collaborative Ralph "Bucky" Phillips manhunt that involved multiple law enforcement agencies.

ECO Ward plays an active role in hunter education. He is a gifted instructor and supervises rifle and shotgun recertification for regional wildlife staff as well as the firearms training at regional Waterfowl and Pheasant hunts. Throughout his career, he has been involved in the education of almost 1,000 youth hunters.

In his spare time, Ward is an avid hunter and holds lifetime sportsman, archery and muzzle loading licenses. He became a member of the state big Buck Club in 2008 and has competed several times at the annual US Marshall's Police Pistol Competition.

ECO Ward resides in Perry, Wyoming County, with his wife and daughter.

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