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For Release: Wednesday, November 7, 2018

DEC Announces Appointment of Bernard "Bernie" Rivers as Director of the Division of Law Enforcement

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the appointment of Captain Bernard "Bernie" Rivers to the position of Director of the Division of Law Enforcement (DLE).

Comissioner Basil Seggos with Bernard Rivers and other ECOs

A Hudson Valley native with 27 years of experience with DEC, Rivers has served as Acting Director since March following the retirement of former Director Joseph Schneider. As DLE Director, Rivers will lead 289 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) across the state in the enforcement arm of DEC, tasked with safeguarding the state's natural resources and enforcing the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) that protects fish and wildlife, environmental quality and the citizens of New York State.

"In the time Bernie Rivers served as Acting Director he impressed me with both his leadership skills and his dedication and commitment to DEC and our Division of Law Enforcement," Commissioner Seggos said. "Director Rivers is an experienced Conservation Officer, and like the men and women he leads, he demonstrates tremendous resolve to uphold our mission to protect New York's environment, natural resources and wildlife, and the public. I wish Director Rivers congratulations as he assumes his new responsibilities."

Rivers, 55, a 1981 graduate of Minisink Valley High School, has more than 37 years of law enforcement experience, having spent the last 27 years as an ECO. A graduate of Empire State College and the FBI National Academy, Rivers began his career in law enforcement as a NYS Corrections Officer. He also served as a part-time police officer in Mount Hope, Wallkill, Chester, and Montgomery police departments.

He graduated from DLE's 9th Basic School in 1992, and has served in several positions as an ECO in Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley, including as a Uniformed Officer, Investigator, and as both a Regional Lieutenant and Supervising Captain.

"I am honored to have been selected by the Commissioner to oversee DEC's Division of Law Enforcement," Rivers said. "This has been the job and career I've always wanted since my senior year of high school when I first met an Environmental Conservation Police Officer who spoke to our law enforcement class at Orange/Ulster County BOCES."

Rivers most recently served in DEC's Central Office in Albany as the head of DLE's Office of Professional Standards. A father of two adult sons, Rivers lives in the Hudson Valley with his girlfriend of two years and her two children.

The oldest law enforcement organization in New York State, ECOs were first appointed as Fish & Game Protectors in 1880. In addition to enforcing all laws of the state, ECOs focus on fish and wildlife poaching, the illegal sale of endangered species, water pollution, policing the commercial fishing industry and the timber industry, emissions enforcement, illegal mining and any issue that affects air, land or water quality violations.

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