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For Release: Wednesday, September 2, 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. 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.

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

"From Montauk Point and 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. "Our ECOs have worked arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes, for far longer than the 50 years since DEC was created. These officers are critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment and I am confident they will continue this important mission for the next 50 years and beyond."

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).

Navigation "Impossible" - Queens County
On Aug. 8, ECOs Milliron and Garrand investigated a possible obstruction to a navigable waterway in Hamilton Beach, Queens. A privately owned floating dock was positioned to obstruct a navigable channel in Hawtree Basin near Jamaica Bay. Upon arrival, the ECOs confirmed a 30-foot section of dock was impeding the channel and preventing vessels from passing through it. In addition, neighbors expressed concerns about the dock possibly damaging the moorings and pillars of their property as the dock was not properly secured. After the ECOs spoke with the owner of the dock about a possible Navigation Law violation, he agreed to move the dock as soon as possible.

dock in the water blocking the width of the waterway
Floating Dock obstructing channel

ECOs Respond to Extensive Illegal Clamming Activity - Queens County
On Aug. 23 at approximately 9 p.m., ECOs McCarthy and Brussell planned an evening patrol in Queens in response to numerous complaints about people taking uncertified shellfish in Jamaica Bay during low tide. ECO McCarthy, dressed in plain clothes and carrying his own net and bucket to blend in with the crowd, observed approximately 30 individuals with buckets and rakes digging and placing the shellfish and undersized blue crabs into five-gallon buckets. The ECO also observed a lookout vehicle in the area to alert the group of police activity, preventing ECO Brussell from driving a marked police car into the immediate area. Eventually, ECO McCarthy followed the individuals back to their parking spots on a nearby side street and notified ECO Brussell of the location. Once the Officer drove up in the marked patrol unit, the group of illegal clammers tried to run the buckets to three different cars and make a quick getaway. However, ECO Brussell blocked the subjects' path and seized more than 600 pieces of shellfish and blue crabs. ECOs issued summonses for taking shellfish from uncertified waters and processing undersized blue crabs to all participants in the illegal activity.

four large buckets lined up on the pavement near an ECO vehicle
Buckets of uncertified shellfish and undersized crabs returned to the water

ECOs Locate Marijuana Grow Operation - Greene County
On Aug. 28, ECOs Arp and Palmateer responded to an anonymous tip about a marijuana grow on New York City Department of Environmental Protection property in the town of Ashland. The ECOs located five large marijuana plants growing on the public property. The Officers confiscated the plants and delivered them to the New York State Police Catskill barracks. The marijuana plants were turned over to State Police Investigators and logged into evidence.

ECOs stand at their vehicle with a large garbage bag full of marijuana plants between them
ECOs Palmateer and Arp with confiscated marijuana plants

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