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.
Drone Training – Oneida County
From June 2 to 5, members of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement drone team, along with New York State Police and the Town of Colonie Police Department, presented at the 2022 New York State Technical Rescue Conference at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. ECOs presented on the critical role of drones during investigations. ECOs demonstrated scenario-based and hands-on drone training, ranging from hazmat responses and emergency operations, to structural collapse situations and flooded environments. This is the first time drones were a topic of discussion at the conference.
Annual Fishing Event for Children with Special Needs – Saratoga County
On June 4, ECOs Shaw and Manns, along with Saratoga County 4H, held their 10th Annual Special Needs Kids Fishing Event at the 4H Training Center in the town of Milton. Nearly 25 children between the ages of two and 16 attended. ECOs and volunteers assisted the kids with baiting hooks, casting lines, and landing fish throughout the day. After lunch, Officers handed out a rod and reel to each child to take home. The pond was stocked with trout by a local fish hatchery and an ice cream truck made a surprise appearance. All the children and their families vowed to return next year.
Sinking Vessel – Fulton County
On June 8, ECO Pasciak responded to a radio call for a vessel in distress on the Great Sacandaga Lake. The vessel, occupied by a mother and her two children, began taking on water for unknown reasons. ECO Pasciak rushed to his patrol vessel and joined the response with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Broadalbin Fire Department, Edinburg Fire Department, and Fulton County Office of Emergency Management. As ECO Pasciak arrived on scene, a good samaritan came to aid the sinking vessel and started towing it back to shore. Officer Pasciak and his patrol vessel took over and brought the passengers safely back to shore.
Father’s Day Fishing – Saratoga County
On June 18, ECOs Leubner and Doroski attended the annual Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the Saratoga Eagles Club. Dads, along with their sons and daughters, spent a beautiful day trying to hook a big one. All participants received free food and prizes at the annual event that encourages fathers and their children to bond over a fun outdoor activity. DEC sponsors several free fishing clinics throughout the state where possession of a fishing license is not required. Details on Free Fishing Clinics are available on DEC’s website.
Kids Getting Fishy with It – Franklin County
ECO Okonuk helped introduce young people to the great sport of fishing at recent community events. The ECO attended the Hendrickson Hatch, Catch, and Release Fly Fishing Tournament in early June in the town of Malone, Franklin County. The tournament awards the top three finishers based on the total inches of the top five fish an angler catches. The young anglers caught and released a total of 109 trout over 12 inches. Officer Okonuk also assisted with the Malone Fish and Game Club Fishing Derby at the village pond. Eighty-five children entered the derby and caught 20 trout. The club has hosted the event for more than 50 years.