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For Release: Wednesday, May 26, 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).

Deer Poachers Pay the Price - Wayne County
In Wayne County, two poachers recently paid fines for illegally taking a deer. On December 17, 2020, ECO Younglove received a call about a deer shot from the road. The ECO arrived at the reported location and found a New York State Police (NYSP) Trooper and Palmyra Police Officer already on scene. After receiving a description of the vehicle, ECO Younglove watched the area for several hours and eventually spotted a vehicle matching the description. The Officer saw the vehicle's occupants load the deer into the back of the truck. With assistance from a Palmyra Police Officer, ECO Younglove stopped the vehicle, conducted interviews, and seized evidence. After further investigation, the ECO charged the first poacher with seven misdemeanors and violations, including criminal possession of a weapon, illegally taking whitetail deer, taking deer with the aid of an artificial light, possession of a loaded gun in a vehicle, and other Environmental Conservation Law crimes. The Officer charged the second poacher with illegally taking whitetail deer and hunting from a vehicle. The two poachers paid $1,900 in fines and officers seized a firearm used in the deer jacking for destruction.

Operation Early Bird - Statewide
On May 1 - 3, ECOs across the state participated in Operation Early Bird. This initiative took place during the opening weekend of the spring turkey season to help ensure turkey hunters are hunting safely and following New York State DEC turkey regulations. Over the course of the weekend, ECOs responded to more than 60 calls from the public about the hunting season, encountered 550 hunters in the field, noted nearly 40 offenses, and provided additional education and support to those afield.

Duck Rescue - Sullivan County
On May 12, ECO Grose received a report about baby wood ducks found in Woodridge. A worker with a company clearing trees around power lines in the village discovered the baby ducks in a tree that was cut down and quickly notified DEC. Officer Grose arrived and located 10 babies and two eggs about to hatch. ECO Grose contacted a local wildlife rehabilitator, who advised that the best course of action would be to return to the ducks to a nearby tree. The lively and vocal ducklings quickly adapted to their new home.

Ducklings in a white hardhat on the ground
Rescued baby ducks

Hudson River Boat Patrol - Regionwide
On May 18, ECOs Helmeyer and Wamsley conducted boat patrol on the Hudson River for striped bass fishing enforcement. The ECOs began conducting vessel checks for fish on board, correct tackle including circle hooks, and required safety equipment. During the check of one vessel, the Officers discovered a large striped bass within the live-well of the boat. The fish measured 39 inches, well outside the slot limit of 18-28 inches. When asked for a marine registry required to fish for striped bass, the individual could not produce it. The ECOs issued two summonses to the subject returnable to the Town of Newburgh Court.

Continuing their boat patrol, the ECOs came across another vessel where the individual bragged about catching a big fish. The striped bass measured in at 40 inches. The officers issued a summons to the individual who caught the fish returnable to the Town of Newburgh Court. ECOs checked a total of 21 vessels during their patrol. The two illegally kept striped bass were seized and donated to a local zoo.

ECO standing on boat with the two confiscated striped bass on the edge of the boat
ECO Wamsley with seized striped bass

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