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For Release: Wednesday, March 18, 2020

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

Recent ECO Actions

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.

2020 marks 50 years for DEC and 140 Years for Conservation Police Officers. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State.

In 2019, the 288 ECOs across the state responded to 25,704 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 16,855 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."

Snowvoc Training 2020 - Oswego County
During the week of February 24 to 28, ECO John Helmeyer and fellow Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) instructors conducted two snowmobile operator courses at the Department of Law Enforcement (DLE) Training Academy in Pulaski. The 16 hours of training included classroom work, field exercises, and a final day trail ride. Twenty-six people attended the training with officers from DLE, New York State Police, Lewis County Sheriff's Office, Oneida County Sheriff's Office, and Cayuga County Sheriff's Office.

ECOs and local law enforcement pose for a picture lined up on a snowy hill with snowmobiles
ECOs and other law enforcement agencies attend snowmobile training

Zimmer Fish & Game Conservation Club - Richmond County
On February 29, ECOs Shane Currey and Darren Milliron met with 30 Staten Island youth and their parents at the Andrew E. Zimmer Fish & Game Conservation Association. The ECOs led the session for the young audience by asking questions about how to protect the environment and why it so important. The children were eager to raise their hands and share their opinions. ECO Currey also brought in items from his own personal collection for wildlife identification. The youngsters were quickly able to point out the antlers of deer and the parts of wild turkeys, which are both well-established wildlife in Richmond County. The two officers answered a wide range of questions from the children concerning native wildlife. Parents had their fair share of questions, too. Overall, both officers proved to be popular speakers at the Zimmer Club and look forward to returning.

Kids sit around in an auditorium asking questions to an ECO
ECOs Currey and Milliron at educational outreach event sponsored by the Zimmer Club

Cub Scout Outreach - Westchester County
On March 1, ECOs Craig Tompkins and Kevin Wamsley met with Cub Scout Pack 36, Montrose, Den 4. The seven Cub Scouts and their den leader were quizzed on common New York animal pelts, animal habitats, and animals they commonly see in the area. A great time was had by all as the ECOs also discussed their duties and how these officers help to conserve the state's natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

ECOs and boy scouts pose for a picture around a large wooden office table
ECOs Wamsley and Tompkins with Cub Scouts

Eagle Rescue - Dutchess County
On March 4, ECO John Helmeyer received a call regarding an injured Bald Eagle on private property in the town of LaGrange. ECO Helmeyer captured the eagle by a small stream with help from the caller and turned the bird over to a representative from Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center for rehabilitation.

ECO stands in front of his vehicle while holding injured bald eagle
ECO Helmeyer with injured Bald Eagle

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