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.
Sacandaga Training – Fulton County
On May 26, ECOs participated in a multi-agency training exercise on the Great Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County. Training participants included more than 90 first responders staged at the Hudson River Black River Regulating District. New York State Police and law enforcement from Fulton, Saratoga, Montgomery, and Hamilton counties participated in the training, including dive teams, fire, EMS, emergency management, district attorneys, and the Fulton County Coroner.
The annual training focuses on marine patrols responding to boaters in distress, which evolves into criminal investigations with missing “victims.” ECOs were tasked with initial scene response, scene security, and the transport of dive team personnel. In addition, ECOs on the Flood Incident Strike Team, trained for swift water conditions, utilized the DEC jet boat to transport fire and EMS to help retrieve a victim.
Caring High Schoolers Learn to “Leave it There”- Oneida County
On June 1, ECO Noyes responded to a call of an abandoned fawn in a courtyard area of Adirondack High School in Boonville. The fawn curled up in an exterior corner of the school was in healthy condition. With assistance from students in the school’s agriculture class, ECO Noyes successfully relocated the fawn to a wooded area nearby, where the animal’s mother had been spotted earlier. It was also a good teaching moment for the students to observe how to safely leave wildlife where it is found, even if it looks “abandoned or injured.” For more information about caring for young wildlife and “If you care, leave them there,” go to DEC’s website.
Baby Rabbits – Oneida County
On June 3, ECO Howe responded to the town of Floyd in Oneida County to assist a man who reported he had accidentally mowed over a nest of baby rabbits three days prior. With advice from a wildlife rehabilitator, the man placed grass over the nest to help determine whether the mother would return. It was determined the mother was not returning to the nest and the rabbits had a better chance of survival if taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. ECO Howe carefully captured the five baby rabbits and transported them to the rehabilitator where they will be cared for until they can be released back into the wild. Video of the baby rabbits is available on DEC’ website.
Law Enforcement Day – Clinton County
On June 3, ECOs Fadden and LaCroix with K9 Web attended Law Enforcement Day at Rouses Point Elementary School. ECO Fadden spoke with students about the role of an ECO. ECO LaCroix spoke with the nearly 270 students in attendance about being a K9 Officer and introduced participants to K9 Web. Also participating in the career day was the New York State Police (NYSP) Underwater Recovery Team, NYSP Bomb Disposal Unit, NYSP K9, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection.