Captain Bernard “Bernie” Rivers to the position of Director of the Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
A Hudson Valley native with 27 years of experience with DEC, Rivers has served as Acting Director since March following the retirement of former Director Joseph Schneider. As DLE Director, Rivers will lead 289 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) across the state as the enforcement arm of DEC, tasked with safeguarding the state’s natural resources and enforcing the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) that protects fish and wildlife, environmental quality and the citizens of New York State.
Rivers, 55, a 1981 graduate of Minisink Valley High School, has more than 37 years of law enforcement experience, having spent the last 27 years as an ECO. A graduate of Empire State College and the FBI National Academy, Rivers began his career as a NYS Corrections Officer. He also served as a part-time police officer in Mount Hope, Wallkill, Chester, and Montgomery police departments.
He graduated from DLE’s 9th Basic School in 1992, and has served in several positions as an ECO in Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley, including as a Uniformed Officer, Investigator, and as both a Regional Lieutenant and Supervising Captain.
Rivers most recently served in DEC’s Central Office in Albany as the head of DLE’s Office of Professional Standards.
The oldest law enforcement organization in New York State, ECOs were first appointed as Fish & Game Protectors in 1880. In addition to enforcing all laws of the state, ECOs focus on fish and wildlife poaching, the illegal sale of endangered species, water pollution, policing the commercial fishing industry and the timber industry, emissions enforcement, illegal mining and any issue that affects air, land or water quality violations.
Read more about the work of ECOs and the crimes they address in the Adirondacks here on the Adirondack Almanack.