Environmental Conservation Police Officers
The mission of the Division of Law Enforcement is "To protect and enhance the environment and natural resources of the State of New York while also protecting the health and safety of its people through the enforcement of Environmental Conservation and related laws and public education."
This mission is accomplished by over 330 sworn members of the Division of Law Enforcement. They focus their efforts on Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) enforcement although they are empowered to enforce all laws of the state. Their mission encompasses two broad enforcement areas: fish & wildlife and environmental quality. Fish & wildlife enforcement includes addressing complaints of poaching, the illegal sale of endangered species, and checking hunters, fishermen, trappers and commercial fishermen (lobsters, clams, bait fish, food fish) for compliance. Environmental quality enforcement includes investigating timber thefts, illegal water pollution, improper use or application of pesticides, commercial vehicles producing excessive emissions, freshwater and saltwater wetland degradation, illegal mining and almost any area that affects air, land or water quality law violations.
Enforcement is comprised of both proactive and reactive patrols in marked police vehicles. Environmental conservation police officers (ECOs) investigate complaints and document their findings. When sufficient evidence is found, they prepare their case for a successful prosecution in court.
The majority of the division is comprised of uniformed ECOs, who are assigned patrol areas of one or two counties. The supervisory staff includes lieutenants, captains, majors and colonels. Complimenting the uniformed staff is the Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation, who investigate significant environmental crimes including misdemeanors and felonies. The division also has a full time dispatch center, a permanent training academy, a police K-9 unit and a marine enforcement unit. Overseeing the entire operation is a uniformed Director of the Division of Law Enforcement.
If you have an emergency where an Environmental Conservation Police Officer is needed, call the Department's Public Protection Dispatch Center at 1-877-457-5680. Complaints of environmental law violations can also be sent to the Dispatch Center via e-mail by clicking this link: Report Poachers and Polluters .
Watch a video of Environmental Conservation Officers at work in New York City (Large file - 47 MB, .wmv format)
More about Environmental Conservation Police Officers:
- Portrait of an ECO - Learn about a typical day in the life of an ECO.
- The ECO's Proud History - History of the Environmental Conservation Officers of New York State
- Law Enforcement FAQs - NYSDEC Law Enforcement-Frequently Asked Questions
- Law Enforcement K-9 Units - DEC's Division of Law Enforcement has a specialized K-9 Unit trained to handle situations ranging from locating poachers to finding people who have become lost in the wilderness.
- EAGLES School Program - The Environmental Awareness Gives Life to the Eco-System (EAGLES) Program
- Officer on Patrol Articles - Articles from Officers on Patrol