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For Release: Friday, September 6, 2019

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

ECO Actions for Late August

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.

In 2018, the 288 ECOs across the state responded to 21,668 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 20,665 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

"From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York's environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don't receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment."

Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:

"I'll Be Honest, There's a Tire in There" - Sullivan County
On Aug. 21, ECO Tom Koepf was patrolling in the town of Bethel when he observed thick black smoke coming from behind a residence a short distance away. The officer drove to the residence and saw a large burning barrel in the backyard. Koepf interviewed the homeowner, who admitted he had been burning household garbage that morning. When ECO Koepf asked why the smoke was so black, the homeowner reported that there was a tire in fire. The subject was ordered to extinguish the fire immediately, and ECO Koepf issued a ticket for open burning of prohibited materials, returnable to the Town of Bethel Court.

Burning barrel on it's side in a forest with thick black smoke and fire coming out of it.
Illegal fire in Town of Bethel

Nuisance Bear - Sullivan County
On Aug. 23, ECO Tom Koepf assisted Region 3 Bureau of Wildlife staff with a nuisance bear at the Catskill Fish Hatchery in the town of Rockland. This was the seventh bear that DEC Wildlife staff have caught at the facility over the years, due to bears seeing the hatchery fish as easy meals. This 192-pound sow was sedated, fitted with a radio collar to track her movements and gain valuable data on bear trends, and moved from the location.

Bear biologist and an ECO and wildlife technician pose for a picture behind a bear they sedated.
Bear Biologist Matt Merchant, ECO Tom Koepf, and Wildlife
Technician Emily Carrollo with radio-collared bear

Sunken Boat on Catskill Creek - Greene County
On Aug. 23, ECOs Anthony Glorioso and Mike Arp were on boat patrol on the Catskill Creek and the Hudson River when they were notified by a marina owner that he noticed an oil sheen in the water around boats at his docks. The officers followed the sheen up the creek about .25 mile, and located a vessel tied to a dock approximately 90 percent submerged. The boat was leaking fluids, sending a bright, multi-colored sheen down Catskill Creek. The officers requested assistance from DEC's Spill Response unit and worked together to contain the spill to the area immediately around the vessel. The boat sank as a result of rain water coupled with a failed bilge pump and was removed from the creek later that night. DEC encourages boat owners to check on their boats frequently to ensure everything is in working order. The boat owner is responsible for water pollution cleanup and vessel removal in these types of incidents.

absorbant booms placed atop the water around a sunken boat.
ECOs working to install absorbant booms around sunken boat

Illegal Trout Fishing - Delaware County
On Aug. 24, ECO Nathan Doig focused his patrol on the Beaverkill River in Colchester, including a section of the river that is closed to fishing from July 1 to Aug. 31, to protect thermally stressed trout during the heat of summer. He encountered a number of anglers ignoring the regulations. By the end of the day, ECO Doig had issued five tickets for fishing without a license, two tickets for taking fish in a closed area (no kill), and one ticket for fishing in the closed area. All of the tickets are returnable to Colchester Town Court.

ECO poses for a picture with illegally taken trout in front of his vehical.
ECO Doig with trout taken illegally from the Beaverkill

DLE Honor Guard and Pipe and Drum Band at the State Fair - Onondaga County
On Aug. 26, DLE's Ceremonial Guard led the annual Law Enforcement Day Parade at the 2019 Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. The parade is the centerpiece of the day-long recognition of the many law enforcement agencies keeping the citizens of New York safe. The parade follows a mile-long route through the midway and ends at the Center of Progress Building. The Honor Guard and Drum Band have been among the leaders of the parade for many years and are a consistent highlight for the thousands of onlookers who enjoy the fair.

The Pipe and Drum Band marching at the Great New York State Fair with spectators nearby
The Pipe and Drum Band marching at the Great New York State Fair

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