DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

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DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

ECO Actions for Early 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 2017, the 301 ECOs across the state responded to 26,400 calls and issued 22,150 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to corporate toxic dumping and 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."

Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:

Illegally Hunting with a Crossbow - Greene County
On Dec. 2, ECO Mike Arp responded to the town of Durham after receiving a complaint of a deer found dead in a field with an arrow in it. The complainant advised ECO Arp that he'd observed a pickup truck parked up the road with its lights off and provided him with the truck's registration. The ECO located the owner of the truck, who admitted to shooting the deer with a crossbow when he spotted it in a field. The subject was charged with discharging a crossbow from a public highway, possessing a loaded crossbow in a motor vehicle, taking wildlife from a public highway, taking wildlife from a motor vehicle, and taking a doe deer without a valid Deer Management Permit. All charges are pending in the Durham Town Court.

Illegal Activity Abounds - Monroe County
On Dec. 5, ECO Evan McFee received a complaint of individuals hunting with shotguns in Wildlife Management Unit 8C, which is a bow-hunting-only area. A trail camera photo provided to ECO McFee showed an individual carrying a shotgun. On the afternoon of Dec. 9, the ECO responded to a tip from a local business owner that a vehicle occupied by hunters was parked on a dead-end road near the location. The officer observed two individuals, including the person in the photograph, exiting the woods after legal shooting hours, one carrying a shotgun. That individual admitted to hunting in the same area two days prior with a shotgun, as well, but thought he was in WMU 8F, where shotgun hunting for deer is allowed. After being issued four tickets, the pair complained about another hunter who had a pile of apples and corn under his blind close to their current location. ECO McFee made his way through the woods to the blind. To his surprise, the officer found the blind to be occupied more than an hour after legal hunting time. The man was armed with a crossbow, also illegal in the WMU. McFee found a large pile of corn, apples, and pumpkins underneath the elevated blind, and the hunter was also without his hunting license, tags, and backtag. The subject was charged with hunting over bait, hunting with the wrong implement, failure to wear a bag tag, and failure to carry license and tags. All of the tickets issued are returnable to the Town of Pittsford Court.

Poacher Thwarted - Albany County
On Dec. 11, ECO Kurt Bush received a call about a deer that a complainant suspected had been shot from the roadway in the town of Berne. At the scene, the officer located the animal, a 10-point buck, and called ECO Wes Leubner for assistance. ECO Leubner staked out the carcass and several hours later watched as a man followed the blood trail to the animal. ECOs Bush and Leubner conducted an extensive interview with the subject, who initially denied having anything to do with killing the animal, and stated he was only following a blood trail he had happened to find. Eventually, when faced with extensive evidence gathered by the officers, the subject admitted to shooting the animal from the roadway. The hunter was charged with trespassing, shooting from the roadway, illegal take of wildlife, and failure to tag a deer as required.

Deceased 10-point buck lying on ground

Gut Piles Lead to Multiple Charges - Fulton County
On Dec. 12, ECO Shane Manns received a call about hunters trespassing on posted property and harvesting two deer in the town of Johnstown. The complainant stated that he found two gut piles and drag marks leading to a house adjacent to his property. After gathering evidence at the scene, ECO Manns spoke with the property owner adjacent to the complainant's property. The neighbor told the ECO he had given permission to a several people to hunt on his property, and provided the names. ECO Manns contacted ECO Paul Pasciak to assist with interviewing two potential suspects. The ECOs presented the evidence to both men, who admitted to trespassing and shooting the deer on posted property. Multiple tickets were issued to the men for charges, including trespass and taking an illegal deer. One buck and one doe were seized and donated and the charges are pending in the Town of Johnstown Court.

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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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