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For Release: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

Recent ECO Actions

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State. In 2020, the 298 ECOs and Investigators across the state responded to 29,673 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,952 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

"DEC's Environmental Conservation Police Officers are working hard in communities across New York to protect natural resources by upholding our state's stringent laws and regulations and protecting public safety," Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Our ECOs are expertly trained to perform their duties in every setting-from cities to wilderness-and continue to adapt to meet new and emerging challenges as they build on their longstanding commitment to protect New York's environment."

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).

Air Rifle Used to Take Deer - Ulster County
In November 2020, ECO Bastedo responded to a hunting-related complaint and observed an untagged antlered deer and an untagged antlerless deer on the lawn of a residence. The hunter, Jun Chen Shang, produced his regular season antlered deer tag and bow/muzzleloader tag filled out with the harvest information for that date. The bow/muzzleloader tag cannot be legally used during the regular season. Further investigation by ECOs Bastedo and Walraven determined the antlered deer was killed using a 25-caliber air rifle, which cannot be legally used to take deer. The officers issued tickets to the man for illegal take of a white-tailed deer, illegal implement, and failing to tag as required. The man's regular season antlered deer tag was seized along with his bow/muzzleloader tag and DEC donated the deer to a local food pantry. On April 8, 2021, the Ulster County man paid a penalty in the Town of Gardiner Court for the illegal taking of deer. Jun Chen Shang settled by civil compromise in court and agreed to $1,107.50 in fines and surcharges.

two deceased deer on a person's lawn
Untagged deer on lawn

photo of a rifle on the pavement
25 Caliber air-rifle used to take antlered deer

Somebody's Always Watching - St. Lawrence County
On March 8, ECO Schneller received a call from a concerned local law enforcement officer, claiming an ice fisherman on the St. Lawrence River in the town of Waddington had caught several walleye without returning the fish to the water. The Officer advised that the angler was well over his daily limit of three walleye. ECO Schneller responded to the location, approached the suspected poacher, and noticed four walleyes on the ice next to his portable ice shelter and three more concealed in the bottom of the portable ice shack. The Officer issued one ticket to the angler for going over the daily walleye limit. ECOs cover large areas and sometimes rely on information from local residents to report environmental crimes.

Stranded Dolphin - Nassau County
On March 30, ECOs Macropoulos and Small received reports of a dolphin stranded in Manhasset Bay, Nassau County. When the ECOs arrived, they met with Nassau County Police, already on scene along with the Manhasset Lakeview, Great Neck, and Port Washington fire departments. The New York Marine Rescue Center (NYMRC) was responding and requested ECO assistance in getting a better look at the dolphin to determine its condition. With help from the three fire departments on scene, ECO Macropoulos geared up in an ice suit and went into the bay while ECO Small remained on shore to communicate with NYMRC. ECO Macropoulos determined the marine mammal was a Common Dolphin showing signs of illness. NYMRC arrived on scene and following instructions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and directed responders to reassess the situation the next morning. At first light on March 31, ECO Small observed the dolphin, now closer to shore. The dolphin was later determined to be deceased and DEC transported it to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society for a necropsy.

ECOs on the water in small boats montioring dolphin
ECO Macropoulos and local fire departments in Manhasset Bay observing dolphin

Intentional Deer Strike - Herkimer County
On March 31, Town of Webb Police contacted ECO Noyes about a deer struck and killed by a vehicle in the village of Old Forge. Multiple eyewitnesses claimed the driver intentionally accelerated his truck toward two deer standing in the road, striking one and dragging it approximately 70 to 100 yards down the road. ECO Noyes accessed video footage from a local business' security camera that corroborated eyewitness statements. With help from Old Forge Police, ECOs located the truck and driver in the town of Forestport, Oneida County, and found deer hair in the front bumper of the suspect's truck. After interviewing the driver and presenting him with the evidence, the driver admitted to accelerating toward the deer, striking one, and dragging it down the road before stopping. The subject was issued appearance tickets to the Town of Webb Court for Environmental Conservation Law violations of taking deer from a public highway, taking deer while in a motor vehicle, and taking deer during the closed season.

CSI Sampling Team Highlight
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DEC's Division of Law Enforcement CSI Sampling Team has been performing thousands of N95 respirator fit tests for first responders statewide. The team has also been assisting other agencies, including the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, to create and develop respirator fit testing standards in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. Acting Lieutenant Stephens developed an instructional PowerPoint presentation and helped produce and star in a video last week. The video will help train new fit test machine operators to test up to 14,000 employees statewide.

ECO stands at a table in plain clothes and instructs how to use new respirator
Acting Lieutenant Stephens recording a new video about how to properly use a respirator

A Special Birthday Wish - St. Lawrence County Outreach
ECOs Ryan and Canary recently joined members of the New York State Police and St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office to grant a special birthday request from a four-year-old battling an illness. The birthday girl requested a birthday parade from local law enforcement agencies. Her mom said that while treatment is going well, the parade could help boost her daughter's spirits. ECOs didn't think twice about joining their law enforcement partners to grant this birthday wish. Police, fire, and rescue vehicles drove past the girl's home with lights flashing as she and her family stood outside waving and enjoying the show. On their second loop around, ECOs Ryan and Canary stopped by to drop off some presents, say hello, and share their wishes for a speedy recovery.

two ECOs stand with a little girl and her parent for a photo on her birthday
ECOs Ryan and Canary meet with the birthday girl

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