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Environmental Conservation Police Officer

Watch a clip about Environmental Conservation Police Officers and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.
Applying for an ECO position? Prepare for the physical ability exams by viewing clips on how to conduct the one-minute sit-up, push-ups, and 1.5 mile timed run.

Job Description:

wetland violation checking
ECOs checking wetland violations

Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) are sworn police officers involved in the enforcement of the Environmental Conservation Law in order to protect the State's natural resources and environment. They investigate complaints in order to detect and document both state and federal Environmental Conservation Law felonies, misdemeanors and violations. Environmental Conservation Police Officers meet with school groups, service groups, regulated community and hunter's and angler's clubs to promote compliance with environmental conservation law, which includes fish and wildlife law. At times, they are expected to work long and irregular hours on outdoor patrols. ECOs are required to carry a firearm.

Job Qualifications:

  1. A bachelor's, or higher level degree including or supplemented by 18 semester credit hours in any combination of courses indicated below as qualifying course work; OR
  2. An associate's degree including or supplemented by 18 semester credit hours in any combination of courses indicated below as qualifying course work; AND one of the following:
    1. one year of experience in the areas of freshwater or marine sciences, wildlife sciences, forestry*, environmental engineering, or environmental technology*; or
    2. one year of experience as a police officer with Municipal Police Training Course certification (or equivalent course approved by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council), or as a certified federal law enforcement officer. A certified Peace Officer Training Course does not satisfy this requirement; or
    3. two years of active United States military service with an honorable discharge

Qualifying coursework: Aquatic & Fisheries Science, Biology, Bio-Molecular Science, Chemistry, Criminology, Criminal Investigations, Criminal Justice, Earth & Marine Science, Environmental & Forest Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Sustainability, Natural Science, Natural Resource Conservation, Natural Resource Management, Physical Science, Terrestrial Ecology, Wildlife Management, or Wildlife Science.

Substitution: Up to six semester credit hours in computer science may be used to meet the 18 semester credit hour requirement.

Examples of Non-Qualifying Coursework are, but not limited to: Anatomy/Physiology, Archeology, Astronomy, Aviation, Business Management, Physical Education, Political Science, Public Justice, Public Policy, Sociology, Social Science, Space Science, and Sports/Recreational Management

* Examples of experience that will qualify as Forestry experience are: tree physiology, silviculture, dendrology, mensuration, the planning and supervision of disease and insect control, marketing of timber products, and timber cruising.

Examples of experience that will not qualify as Forestry experience are: Lawn mowing; landscaping; tree and brush trimming; pesticide application; sawing firewood; farm hand; and other types of experience that are categorized as laborer or maintenance work in a garden shop, park, or forest setting.

* Qualifying experience in Environmental Technology must be at a paraprofessional or higher level in areas such as solid and hazardous waste, remediation, or pollution prevention.

Examples of experience that will not qualify as Environmental Technology experience are: Equipment operators, laboratory workers, and laborers.

Environmental Conservation Police Officers are expected to maintain a minimal standard of physical fitness. Besides the physical agility portion of the physical-medical requirements, Environmental Conservation Police Officers will be expected to demonstrate their physical fitness on a regular basis. Prior to appointment, candidates must pass a physical-medical examination, and have excellent moral character and habits, and pass a physical agility test.

Candidates will also be required to demonstrate an ability to swim during the trainee period. Candidates must possess a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State at the time of appointment. Conviction of a felony, misdemeanor or other violation of law may bar examination and appointment.

Salary & Traineeship:

An ECO is hired as an ECO Trainee 1. All ECO Trainee 1's must complete a 26-week residential basic training academy. This academy emphasizes police skills as well as the technical aspects of environmental law enforcement. They then must perform enforcement work under close and continuous supervision of a Field Training Officer. The ECO Trainee 1, after successfully completing his or her first year, will advance to ECO Trainee 2. Upon Completion of a 2nd year in the training program, the Trainee 2 will advance to ECO.

Currently the hiring rate for ECO Trainee 1 is $54,243. After completing 30 weeks as an ECO Trainee 1, the salary increases to $56,820. After an additional 22 weeks and progression to ECO Trainee 2, the salary increases to $59,448. Upon completion of the 2-year traineeship, the salary is $62,228.

Work Location:

These positions exist in the Department of Environmental Conservation throughout the State. Upon completion of the training academy, ECO Trainees bid on available assigned patrol areas and work out of their residence in the assigned patrol area. Upon appointment and at all times the location of an ECO's residence would have to be acceptable to the Department of Environmental Conservation. New York State residency must be maintained.

Promotional Opportunities:

ECOs qualify to take the promotional examination for Environmental Conservation Investigator 1, Environmental Conservation Investigator 2 and Supervising ECO. Further promotional opportunities are available through competitive examination and satisfactory experience. The career ladder continues to include: Chief Environmental Conservation Police Officer; Environmental Conservation Investigator 4, Assistant Director Division of Law Enforcement and Director Division of Law Enforcement.

Application Procedures:

The position of Environmental Conservation Police Officer Trainee is filled through the use of eligible lists resulting from a written examination administered by the Department of Civil Service (leaves DEC website).

For additional information on Civil Service Examinations, see the links leaving DEC's website to "Civil Service Exam Announcements," "Civil Service Exam Notification," and Civil Service FAQs" on the right side of this page.

FAQ's on Environmental Conservation Police Officer Examination and Hiring Process:

Q. When is the next examination for ECO Trainee 1?
A. There is no exam currently scheduled.

For future examination announcements, sign up to receive exam notifications from the NYS Department of Civil Service.

Q. How do I apply for the exam?
A. The exam is administered by the NYS Department of Civil Service - not the DEC. The exam announcement has complete instructions for filing for the test and paying the fee.

Q. What are the qualifications required to take the test?
A. You must meet the qualifications that are stated on the exam announcement, in order to be admitted to the test. The minimum qualifications are reviewed prior to each announcement of the examination. The "Job Qualifications" listed above are from the last examination announcement.

Q. Once I take the ECO exam and am on the civil service list, what happens next?
A. Usually, about 6 - 8 months before an Academy is scheduled to start, several hundred candidates on the ECO list will receive a canvass letter with instructions to appear for the physical ability testing. If you pass the ability tests, you will then be required to complete an extensive background questionnaire, which is the basis for our Department's thorough investigation into your education and employment history. Any prior arrests or convictions will be investigated.

After the background investigation is completed, you may be scheduled for an interview with a panel of command staff. If you successfully complete all of these steps, the Department may make you a conditional offer of employment and refer you to the Department of Civil Service for a medical examination.

Candidates who pass all of these screenings and have reachable scores on the ECO list, will be given a tentative start date to report to the Academy.

Typically you will be given at least two weeks notice of the start of the Academy, however, due to last minute declinations for appointment to the position, some candidates may be contacted to start the Academy with very limited notice.

Q. Is there an age requirement?
A. Environmental Conservation Police Officer 1 Trainees are police officers under state law. At appointment you must be a resident of New York State and at least 21 years old.

Q. I have a tattoo. Will that affect my chances of being hired?
A. Currently, tattoos must comply with our Division of Law Enforcement's (DLE) policy which states that they cannot be visible while a member is in uniform. The uniform consists of a short sleeve shirt open at the front of the neck and in warmer weather, shorts. For additional information, contact the DLE office at 518-402-8829.

Q. When will the next Academy for new ECO trainees begin?
A. The next Academy will be scheduled based on Department needs.

Q. What is the Academy?
A. All newly hired ECO Trainees begin their employment with a 26-week residential training program, currently held in Pulaski, NY. Recruits must pass all elements of the Academy before they are assigned to a work location. Failure to meet established minimum standards will result in termination from the position and the Academy.

Q. How many people do you hire for an Academy?
A. The number is dependent upon several factors, including attrition within the Division of Law Enforcement and available money within the Department's budget. Generally speaking, we hold classes for 15 to 30 ECOs.

Q. How often do you start a new training Academy?
A. This answer is related to the above question, but it is possible that a new academy could be held anywhere from one to three years.

Q. When I am hired, will I know where I will be assigned to work after the Academy?
A. Unfortunately, no. Assignments are made at the end of the 6-month Academy training. But you can generally assume that your initial assignment will be working downstate - Long Island, New York City or the counties just north of NYC.

Q. How do I obtain an assignment in a different geographic area of NYS?
A. After completing a two-year probation period, the ECO's union contract allows them to bid on a different job location, based upon their seniority in the job title.

Q. Where can I get information on the physical and medical standards for ECO Trainee?
A. Information on the physical and medical requirements as well as other qualifying information is contained on the examination announcement on the Department of Civil Service. Caution! All qualifying information is subject to future change.