DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

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DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

Recent ECO Actions for December

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.

In 2018, the 288 ECOs across the state responded to 21,668 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 20,665 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

"From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York's environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don't receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment."

Bass Poachers Plead Guilty - Ulster County
On Dec. 3, three Brooklyn men pled guilty in the Town of Hurley Court to charges including the taking of black bass out of season and illegal commercialization of protected wildlife. On April 26, ECOs Jason Smith and Lucas Palmateer charged the men at the Ashokan Reservoir after finding them with 35 Smallmouth Bass affixed to a stringer and hidden on the shoreline. Two of the defendants' vehicles were fitted with "live tanks" to transport the fish, with one vehicle registered to a retail fish market in New York City. All three men were also charged with failing to wear personal flotation devices and trespassing; one of the individuals was charged with fishing without a license. The men paid $2,425 in total fines and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection revoked access passes and boat permits for all three individuals.

An ECO stands in the woods near a river with binoculars
ECO Palmateer conducting surveillance on the Ashokan Reservoir

a long string with fish caught on it
Stringer of smallmouth bass

Injured Bald Eagle rescued - Wyoming County
On Dec. 14, ECOs Ronald Gross and Joshua Crain responded to Letchworth State Park in Wyoming County to rescue an injured Bald Eagle from the edge of the gorge. The ECOs were aided by a New York State Parks Police Officer. The eagle was transported to Cornell University Wildlife Health Services, where it was diagnosed with a broken wing. The eagle is receiving treatment and expected to be rehabilitated and released in approximately three months.

Bald eagle in a cage in the back of an ENCON pickup truck
Injured Bald Eagle

Two ECOs stand at the back of their pickup truck to pose for a picture with the bald eagle they resuced
ECOs Crain and Gross prepare injured Bald Eagle for transport

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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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