Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Environmental Conservation Police on Patrol

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement enforces the 71 chapters of New York State's 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 2021, 282 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

"DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Investigators are on the front lines each and every day protecting our natural resources by upholding New York's environmental laws and regulations and safeguarding public health," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "From ensuring hunters and anglers follow rules and regulations afield and on the water, to sustaining partnerships with local law enforcement agencies investigating crimes that include solid waste dumping and air emissions violations, ECOs and Investigators are on patrol, ready to serve their communities. Each year brings new challenges, and fortunately, these Officers and Investigators are expertly trained to perform their duties with persistence, integrity, and good judgment, as they've done for over a century."

77th United Nations General Assembly Security Detail - New York County
Every year, the United Nations General Assembly hosts diplomats from around the world, as well as the President of the United States. Southern District ECOs assisted the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Secret Service with security for events between Sept. 18 and 24. ECOs manned patrol vessels during the President's arrival and departure. The largest patrol vessel monitored security zones established by USCG in lower Manhattan on the East River and surrounding New York City airports. Officers assisted the Secret Service with interdiction of unlawful drone operators during the event.

ECO boat in the water, sky scrapers in the background
ECO patrol vessel in front of the U.N.

ECOs on a boat watch as a helicopter comes into port
ECO Bobseine and Lt. Latimer on DEC's patrol vessel upon the President's arrival

Illegal Dumping Bust - Otsego County
On Sept. 19, ECOs received a report of ongoing illegal dumping of solid waste in the town of Maryland. ECO Vencak and Lieutenant Terrell responded to the complaint and determined through witness interviews that an absentee property owner from New Jersey had hired two subjects from the Capital Region area to dismantle a trailer and allowed them to sell the scrap metal. The construction debris, intended for proper disposal at a local transfer station, ended up illegally dumped in Otsego County and the city of Albany. ECOs contacted the property owner who cooperated with the Officers and contacted the subjects, who claimed they would clean up the mess. The subjects returned to the Otsego County location and loaded the debris back into their rental truck. The ECOs ticketed the pair for the unlawful disposal of solid waste and illegal trespass. Charges are still pending in Albany, where Officers found more solid waste, dumped illegally by the same men, at a vacant lot.

flashlight shines into moving truck filled with debris and trash
Illegally dumped solid waste found in Otsego County

Kids Enjoy Multiple Hunting and Fishing Events - Orange and Rockland Counties
On Sept. 24, ECOs in Orange and Rockland counties assisted with two youth hunting and fishing events. At Stewart State Forest in the town of Montgomery, DEC and the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs (OCFSC) cosponsored a Youth Pheasant Hunt during which more than 20 youth hunters enjoyed the opportunity to pursue and take pheasants stocked by DEC and OCFSC. Less crowded hunting conditions, experienced adult hunters and dog handlers, and mild weather combined to provide an exceptional upland hunting experience for the junior hunters. In Rockland County, DEC and the United Sportsmen Association of Rockland held a National Hunting and Fishing Day event at Congers Lake Memorial Park in the town of Clarkstown. These free events help sustain and grow New York's hunting and fishing traditions. More than 200 youth enjoyed a day packed with hunting and fishing instruction and opportunities, including an archery practice range and bamboo rods to continue practicing fly fishing.

That's Not a Squirrel - Niagara County
On Sept. 25, while driving through Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area patrolling for end-of-season goose hunters, Lieutenant Ver Hague observed a hunter at his car just before sunset. The ECO pulled in to check in with the hunter, who claimed to be hunting squirrels, not geese. At the same time, Lieutenant Ver Hague noticed the hunter attempting to close the trunk of his car and observed a foot sticking out that appeared larger than a squirrel's foot. Upon further inspection, the Officer determined the foot to be that of a raccoon, and raccoon hunting season does not open until Oct. 25. ECO Holzle arrived on scene shortly after this discovery and issued the man a ticket for hunting raccoons out of season.

ECO holds dead raccoon by its leg
ECO Holzle with raccoon illegally killed out of season

All Tangled Up - Chautauqua County
On Sept. 27, ECO Mead received a report about a deer with its head stuck in a swing set in Jamestown. The caller reported the animal was struggling to free itself for an estimated 45 minutes. When Officer Meade arrived, the caller showed him the four-point-buck entangled in a large tree swing with a 25-foot rope. The animal could run more than 20 feet in any direction only to be snapped back and swept up to eight feet in the air before crashing back down, often into and around nearby smaller trees. With daylight fading quickly, Officer Mead duct-taped his knife to a long stick and grabbed a flashlight. Doing his best to avoid the animal's wildly thrashing hooves, after several attempts the ECO freed the animal without injuring himself or the deer by cutting the rope and preventing the deer from re-entangling itself. The buck ran away showing no signs of significant harm.

Paying Homage - Suffolk County
On Sept. 29, ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer made their annual pilgrimage to Pine Lawn Cemetery in Suffolk County to pay their respects to fallen Game Protector William Cramer, K9 Cramer's namesake. Cramer was murdered by poachers in 1929 when he tried to arrest them for unlawfully killing songbirds. ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer visit the cemetery every year on Sept. 29 to pay homage to a fallen Officer and salute his ultimate sacrifice in defense of New York State's natural resources.

ECO K9 sits next to gravestone
K9 Cramer paying homage to fallen Game Warden Cramer

Sniffing Out Bags of Blackfish - Nassau County
On Oct. 2, K9 Cramer joined ECOs investigating an illegal fishing case in Nassau County. ECOs Kochanowski and Macropoulos observed a fisherman catch an out-of-season blackfish under one of the bridges on the Wantagh Parkway, put it in a bag, and toss the bag down into the rocks. When the Officers approached, the angler appeared to be all packed up and leaving the area. The ECOs were surprised the subject had no fish and only fishing equipment. After a hasty search of the area failed to uncover the poached fish, the Officers reached out to ECO DeRose to bring in K9 Cramer. Cramer searched the area the subject was fishing, but focused on a nearby location. Officer DeRose expanded the search area and after getting to the opposite side of the bridge, Cramer quickly barreled through a large section of vegetation and alerted his handler. ECO DeRose moved in and discovered multiple black bags containing blackfish. Officers ticketed the angler for keeping out-of-season blackfish and failing to release blackfish without undue harm, returnable to Nassau County First District Court. To see a video of one of K9 Cramer's training missions with his handler ECO DeRose, visit DEC's YouTube page (leaves DEC website).

K9 ECO on a leash sits next to several dead fish
K9 Cramer with out-of-season black fish

The Donut Hole - Sullivan County
On Oct. 2, ECOs Parker and Doroski completed a bear baiting investigation in the town of Forestburgh. Utilizing intelligence gathered by Investigators with DEC's Bureau of Environmental Crime Investigations, ECOs identified an area of State land potentially being baited for bears. After hiking many miles over several days, ECOs located two hunting locations on the ridge that appeared to be baited, as the earth near the hunting stands and blinds was freshly disturbed. ECOs set out just as daylight broke and located an individual bowhunting for bear over bait in one of the suspected stands. The bait consisted of donuts placed in trees, smeared on tree bark, and placed in tree knots. The hunter initially claimed the donuts, including the large package of donuts in his backpack, were for his own consumption and that he had simply dropped the others. ECOs ticketed the hunter for hunting bear with the aid of bait, failure to display a backtag, injuring trees on State land, littering on State land, failing to label stands/blinds with a name/address, and several other State land offenses. ECOs were assisted by Lt. Buckley who helped process the individual and evidence.

donuts inside the knot of a tree
Donuts inside tree stump in Sullivan County bear bait case

Deer Meets Soccer Net - Otsego County
On Oct. 12, ECO Vencak responded to reports of a deer trapped in a soccer goal net at Hartwick College in the city of Oneonta. Officer Vencak managed to cover the yearling deer with a blanket and hold it long enough for Hartwick employees to cut the net off and free the deer. The animal ran off into the woods, uninjured, after the incident.

a deer lays on the grass while tangled in a blue soccer net
Deer tangled in soccer net at Hartwick College in Otsego County.

ECO covers deer with a blanket and holds it down while another person cuts away the soccer net
ECO Vencak holding deer while Hartwick College employee cuts soccer net

To contact an ECO to report an environmental crime or to report an incident, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS for 24-hour dispatch or email (for non-urgent violations).

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Jomo Miller
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions