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.
Water Safety Demo – Washington County
On July 19, ECOs Krug and Dewey spoke to campers and counselors at the Georgi Center in Shushan about the job duties of an ECO. The Officers conducted a brief water safety presentation in the Battenkill River, which runs through the community and is a popular destination for swimming and tubing. Officers Krug and Dewey are members of the multi-agency Flood Incident Strike Team that responds to water rescues statewide.
Bowfishing – Essex County
In response to recent complaints about bowfishing, operating without navigation lights, using bright spotlights, and making noise on Lake Champlain, ECOs patrolled the area. On July 23, a resident walking his dog reported several boats leaving the Port Henry Boat launch at around 9 p.m. for a rumored bowfishing tournament. ECO Buffa and Lieutenant Gonyeau responded to the area and noticed lights from some of the boats a long distance away. The boats began returning to the docks at approximately 1:30 a.m. The Officers checked 13 boats carrying 45 people and issued a range of tickets, including fishing without a license and insufficient personal flotation devices. The ECOs also gave several warnings for navigation lights and answered questions from the anglers about Environmental Conservation Law.
Rescues and Realism – Law Enforcement Training Academy
During the week of July 25, ECO Recruits from the 23rd Basic School participated in their 10th week of intense, realistic training. Recruits began the week attending a two-day swiftwater rescue training at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) to introduce them to the challenges of conducting rescue operations in flooded or moving waters. SPTC facilities can simulate a Class 3 whitewater rapid river and a flooded town. Recruits learned survival swimming and heaving line rescues, and finished the training with in-water rescue operations. Recruits returned to the academy and were greeted by ECOs from all over the state for reality-based training. The class worked through scenarios with ECOs roleplaying based on events they are likely to experience in the field. Boxing and classroom study in Environmental Conservation Law rounded out the week as recruits continue their specialized training. Video of the swiftwater training can be found at DEC’s website, courtesy of NYS DEC.
Civil Service Exam Application Deadline Extended
The application date for the entry-level law enforcement civil service exam used to fill titles with DEC’s ECOs and Forest Rangers, Office of State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the State University of New York was recently extended to Aug. 10. As part of the State’s ongoing commitment to maintaining public safety and diversifying our ranks, we encourage New Yorkers of all backgrounds to consider a meaningful and rewarding career in public service and apply. Qualified candidates can apply online.