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Environmental Conservation police on patrol

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  • Staff Report 

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.”

Youth Outdoor Expo – Ulster County

On June 4, ECOs Johnson and Chomicki attended the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Ulster County Outdoor Youth Expo at Lippman Park in Wawarsing. ECOs displayed furs from native animals and equipment such as ATVs to encourage children to get outdoors and have fun. The Officers also answered questions about the job duties of an ECO and participating kids had the opportunity to fish for free thanks to the Wawarsing Rod and Gun Club.

Injured fisherman – Ulster County

On June 8, ECO Johnson responded to a 911 call for an injured person along the rocks of Rondout Creek in Marbletown. The man had fallen on some rocks while fishing along the shoreline of the creek. ECO Johnson, along with Officers from New York State Police, Ulster County Sherriff’s Office, Rosendale Police Department, and High Falls Fire Department, carried the injured angler to a waiting ambulance where he was evaluated.

Fawn in Distress – Erie County

On June 12, ECO Mathis responded to reports of two fawns attempting to cross Route 5 in the town of Hamburg after a doe was struck and killed on this busy road. Officer Mathis and a Good Samaritan tried to catch the fawns without success. After several attempts over the next few days, ECO Mathis secured one of the malnourished fawns behind a nearby residence and transported it to a local wildlife rehabilitator.

Community Public Services Celebration – Plattsburgh

On June 23, ECOs Nicols and Lacroix and Lieutenant Younglove conducted outreach at the Plattsburgh Community Oriented Public Services Celebration (C.O.P.S.) hosted by the Plattsburgh Police Department and Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan. The event, attended by approximately 300 people, connects Law Enforcement Officers to the communities they serve and features free giveaways, local food trucks, and music.

 600 Fishing Poles Given Away – Erie County

On June 25, ECO Damrath joined leaders of Buffalo United Front, a charitable community organization, to host the group’s annual Families Free Fishing Weekend. The two-day event was held at Broderick Park on the Niagara River and is the largest of its kind in New York State. Organizers gave away 600 fishing poles at the park, which was packed with new fishing enthusiasts all weekend long.

Busy Day for ECOs on the Atlantic Ocean – New York County

The morning of June 25 began with ECOs Milliron, McCarthy, and Lieutenant Unger conducting checks of anglers in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), targeting highly migratory species such as shark and tuna. The Officers spotted a small humpback whale feeding on a large school of bunker approximately four miles south of Rockaway Beach. To protect the whale, the Officers advised boaters in the area to keep their distance and monitored the area to ensure boaters complied. In the early afternoon, ECOs assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with the ‘Jet Ski Invasion 2022’ event on the East River near Randall’s Island. Hundreds of jet skiers traversed the East and Harlem rivers throughout the day. During the patrol, ECOs responded to a distress call of a small vessel with three people on board that went aground off Rikers Island. No one was injured and the New York Police Department ferried the group to shore.

Special Fishing Event for Some Special Children – Long Island Sound

On June 29, ECOs held a special fishing event for young children new to angling. ECOs DeRose, Macropoulos, and Cacciola took a group of 15 children from Little Flower Children Services fishing on the Long Island Sound onboard the Osprey, a private charter boat donated for the occasion and captained by April Peterson. I Fish NY staff joined DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement assisting and educating the kids as they caught porgy. The trip was organized and funded by DEC and I Fish NY, the New York State Conservation Officers Association, and donations by Costco, BJ Wholesale, Sun Screen, and the Cancer Services of Northwell Health, which donated reusable water bottles.

 Band in the Bay – Great Sacandaga Lake – Fulton County

On July 3, ECOs Manns, Klein, and Shaw patrolled the Great Sacandaga Lake for the annual ‘Band in the Bay’ event. Each year, hundreds of vessels anchor and enjoy live music during the afternoon. This year, New York State Police, Fulton, Saratoga, and Montgomery County Sherriff’s Offices, Fulton County Emergency Management, and local EMS and fire departments joined ECOs in patrolling the event. The Officers continuously moved throughout the lake to ensure public safety. There were no significant incidents during the event and everyone enjoyed a beautiful day on the water.

ECOs Assist U.S. Coast Guard with Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show – New York City

ECOs assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with maritime security during the annual July 4th fireworks show on the East River in New York City. Two DEC patrol vessels maintained a security perimeter in the area, along with other Law Enforcement agencies.