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For Release: Wednesday, September 30, 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).

ATV Rollover - Erie County
On Aug. 18, ECO Mathis responded to an ATV rollover accident in the town of Concord. A man suffered injuries after the ATV he was operating deep in the woods up a steep incline rolled on top of him. EMS stabilized the subject and ECO Mathis, Erie County Sheriff's Deputies, and members of the Gowanda and Morton's Corners Fire Department carried him out to a waiting ambulance for transport to a local hospital.

2020 New York International Air Show ATV Detail - Orange County
On Aug. 29 and 30, ECOs Schneider, Schuck, Carl, and Mangels participated in an ATV detail for the 2020 New York International Air Show at the Orange County Airport. ECOs assisted New York State Police Troop "F", Orange County Sherriff's Office, Town and Village of Montgomery Police, and Town of Wallkill Police with crowd control, traffic control, and security. The air show successfully utilized a drive-in style format, maintaining a distance between all vehicles to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. This year's lineup included some top military and civilian performers, including the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, F-22 fighter jet demo, and West Point Parachute Team.

ATV in a field with mountains int he background
ECOs perform perimeter and interior security utilizing ATVs

ECOs Team Up with Orange County Sheriff for ATV Patrol - Orange County
On Sept. 12, ECOs Newell and Carl joined Deputies Monahan and McLaughlin of the Orange County Sheriff's Department for a patrol of the Minisink area in response to increased complaints of heavy ATV use on public and private lands. The patrol allowed the officers to identify the trails most heavily used and speak to landowners about problems reported.

two ECOs sitting on ATVs while on patrol in the woods
ECOs Newell and Carl on patrol

K9 Deployment in Waterfowl Hunting Complaint - Chenango County
On Sept. 19, ECO Wing responded to a waterfowl hunting complaint in the town of Guilford, Chenango County. The complainant stated that hunters were shooting in an unsafe direction. ECO Wing conducted an initial investigation and requested K9 assistance to process the scene before determining appropriate enforcement actions. On Sept. 20, ECO Armstrong joined ECOs Plows and Wing at the scene and deployed K9 Phoenix. K9 Phoenix located numerous shotshell casings and wads, helping the officers determine the direction of the hunters' fire the previous day. Waterfowl hunting over water is generally an exception to the prohibition of shooting within 500 feet of a residence. The evidence located by K9 Phoenix established that shots were fired in a direction other than over the water, and led to summonses issued. ECO Plows also charged one subject with the use of lead shot while hunting waterfowl.

Illegal Deer Case Crosses State Lines - Orange County
On Sept. 20, ECO Mangels assisted New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) law enforcement with a case involving two illegally harvested deer taken from a closed management zone. ECO Mangels interviewed the suspect and the suspect's father and obtained the location of the buck in a freezer in New Jersey. The ECO received conflicting stories about the whereabouts of the doe. In New Jersey, during the fall bow season it is unlawful to take an antlered deer without first taking an antlerless deer. NJDEP charged the suspect with two counts of taking a deer during the closed season, interference with the duties of a conservation officer, and possession of unlabeled deer parts.

photo of confiscated deer parts
10-point buck seized by NJDEP

Youth Pheasant Hunt - Fulton, Saratoga and Washington Counties
On Sept. 26, ECOs in Fulton, Saratoga, and Washington counties headed out before sunrise to meet eager youth pheasant hunters. The day before, the Officers assisted DEC Wildlife staff with stocking pheasants throughout the area at various locations open to youth pheasant hunting. After speaking to the young hunters about the importance of hunting safety, several reported having successful hunts during opening day.

ECO poses for a picture with youth hunters
ECO Brassard with Isabelle Savage and Harrison Schuck after their successful hunt

Cub Scout Outreach - Suffolk County
On Sept. 26, ECO Grady attended the Fall Festival at Woodside Nursery and Garden Center in North Patchogue. The beautiful weather brought a steady stream of visitors to the event, with a large number of young people interested in learning more about the outdoors. ECO Grady displayed furs, pamphlets, and educational materials that were a big hit with the crowd. The ECO also answered questions from the public and provided information about local hunting, fishing, and native New York wildlife.

ECO stands at the back of his truck with informational pamphlets and furs in a parking lot
ECO Grady at Fall Festival, Woodside Nursery and Garden Center, North Patchogue

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