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For Release: Thursday, April 16, 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. The work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment."

Region 3 DLE Members Practice Social Distancing during Trout Socking of Walton Lake - Orange County

On April 9, ECOs assisted DEC fisheries staff with the annual fish stocking of Walton Lake in the town of Monroe. During the event, which more than 25 people attended, officers were on scene to support "New York State on PAUSE" social distancing directives. Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus assisted in efforts to stock more than 3,000 trout. DEC fisheries staff used boats to disperse the fish throughout Walton Lake, ensuring a more enjoyable experience for anglers and a fair chase for the fish.

ECOs standing 6 feet apart from each other in a parking lot
Lieutenant Michael Bello, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, and ECOs William Chomicki and Casey Mangels practice social distancing during trout stocking of Walton Lake

Tree Removal - Putnam County

While on patrol in Putnam Valley on April 9, ECO Daniel Franz encountered a large tree blocking the roadway. ECO Franz conducted traffic control and with the help of a passerby, cleared the roadway.

ECO wearing a reflective vest removes a large tree from the middle of the road
ECO Franz clears downed trees from roadway

Javits Convention Center COVID-19 Detail - New York County

On April 10th, ECOs from Region 2 were tasked to provide 24 hours security for the NYS Javits Convention Center. The center has been converted to a treatment center for COVID-19 patients with the capacity of 1000 beds and is staffed by military doctors and nurses.

ECOs stand in large convention center
Lt. Dustin Dainack leads a security briefing with ECOs at the Command Center at Javits Center

Honoring Medical Staff - Sullivan County

On April 10, ECO Heather Carl joined a long line of first responders at Catskill Regional Medical Center in Monticello, Sullivan County, for the Parade of Heroes. Emergency personnel from across the county arrived in fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars to honor healthcare workers on the frontlines battling COVID-19. ECO Carl joined emergency crews with lights and sirens as they drove up and around the facility.

DEC personnel from across agency divisions and the state are supporting the State's response to COVID-19. Personnel from more than 20 New York State agencies are working on response efforts to stop the spread of this virus. ECOs have been responding to the pandemic at various test centers throughout the state. ECOs have been mobilized for a variety of roles such as Incident Command System (ICS) functions, technical services like fit testing, and site security.

ECO vehicle in a long line of other law enforcement and emergency response vehiles driving down a road
ECO Carl honors medical staff in Parade of Heroes

ECOs Recognized for Exceptional Work

Several DEC ECOs recently received awards for outstanding work in their field.

The DEC Division of Law Enforcement Lifesaving Award is presented to the member or members whose extraordinary actions saved, or attempted to save, the life of a fellow officer or member of the public.

Commissioner Seggos said, "Every day, our ECOs do remarkable work to protect our natural resources and our communities. I applaud this year's recipients and appreciate our ECOs for continuing to ensure a better, safer, more sustainable environment for future generations."

DEC Division of Law Enforcement Director Bernard Rivers said, "New York Conservation Police Officers have served the citizens and protected the natural resources of New York State for 140 years. I am proud to recognize these officers as modern embodiments of Teddy Roosevelt's "Men of Courage" who will lead the Division of Law Enforcement into the next 140 years of dedicated service to the environment. Congratulations to all the award recipients."

DEC Division of Law Enforcement Lifesaving Award - Presented to the member or members whose extraordinary actions saved, or attempted to save, the life of a fellow officer or member of the public.

Recipients: ECOs Charles Eyler and Craig Tompkins, DEC Region 3.

Last September, ECOs Charles Eyler and Craig Tompkins were performing fishing license checks at the Annsville Preserve in Peekskill when they saw a canoe with two adults and a small child tip over in Annsville Creek. The ECOs headed to a kayak rental business, commandeered two kayaks and traveled about a half a mile up the creek to the inundated creek. Both adults were standing in the water outside the creek, while a 3-year-old child sat inside shivering. ECOs Eyler and Tompkins put the child in their dry canoe, siphoned water out of the canoe that tipped over, and paddled the family back to safety.

Profile of ECO Charles Eyler in uniform
ECO Charles Eyler

Profile of ECO Craig Tompkins in uniform
ECO Craig Tompkins

New York Conservation Officers Association (NYCOA) Future of the Division Award - Presented to a member with five or fewer years in service with the Division who has done an outstanding job in their area of responsibility.

Recipient: ECO Lucas Palmateer, DEC Region 3

ECO Palmateer began his career with DEC in 2016, and has shown a tremendous commitment to the protection of the state's environmental resources.

Profile of ECO Lucas Palmateer in uniform
ECO Lucas Palmateer

New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Award - Presented to a member who promotes and participates in marksmanship competitions and encourages participation by New York's youth.

Recipient: ECO Ike Bobseine, DEC Region 1

ECO Bobseine began his career with DEC in 2016 and began formal competitive shooting when he was 12 years old. He now volunteers to coach both junior and adult would-be competitors at the NYSRPA Small Arms Firing School.

Profile of ECO Ike Bobseine in uniform
ECO Ike Bobseine

Shikar-Safari Award - Presented to the member who has done an outstanding job in the area of wildlife law enforcement.

Recipient: ECO Darryl Lucas, DEC Region 6

ECO Lucas began his career with DEC in 1992 and has always been a dedicated and persistent "Game Warden," seeking to protect New York's natural resources.

Profile of ECO Darryl Lucas in uniform
ECO Darryl Lucas

Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Award - Presented to the member who has done an outstanding job in his or her areas of responsibility.

Recipient: ECO Tim Machnica, DEC Region 9

ECO Machnica began his career with DEC in 2008 and is assigned to Erie County. He has worked many big cases, including those involving illegal deer harvest, and participates in many outreach events. He was also nominated and selected for the National Wild Turkey Federation for their Officer of the Year award.

Profile of ECO Tim Machnica in uniform
ECO Tim Machnica

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