DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

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DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

Recent ECO Actions

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."

Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:

Wrapped Up Buck - Ulster County
On Oct. 24, DEC Environmental Conservation Investigator (ECI) Joshua Sulkey and ECO Jeannette Bastedo responded to a buck entangled in poultry fencing in the town of Rochester. The officers requested assistance from DEC Division of Wildlife staff Jonathan Russell and Michael Menza, as the buck's antlers could not be easily untangled and the animal was energetic. Once on scene, DEC staff worked together to physically immobilize the buck and attempt to free the antler. The ECOs and wildlife staff were unable to free it, so the antler was cut and the buck ran off in good health.

Buck lying on the ground in the woods with a white net type material stuck on it's antlers
Buck with antler entangled in poultry fencing

Deer in Distress
On Nov. 16, Region 1 ECOs responded to a deer in distress at a residence in Baiting Hollow, town of Riverhead. When officers arrived, the ECOs found a large buck with antlers tangled in a batting cage net. The buck, with plenty of energy, thrashed and tried to pull himself free. The officers safely subdued the animal and cut the nylon netting away from the buck's rack. Once free, the buck ran for a wooded area with no visible injuries.

Two ECOs and other DEC staff holding down a buck that is tangled in black netting
ECOs free buck entangled in batting cage net

Lt. Aaron Gordon Promoted to Captain
DEC recently promoted Lt. Aaron Gordon to Captain of the Division of Law Enforcement's Training Unit. Captain Gordon is a 13-year veteran of the force, previously serving as an ECO in Regions 1, 3, and 8 prior to being promoted to Lieutenant in 2015. In the course of his duties, Captain Gordon was a member of the Chemical Immobilization Team and an instructor in emergency vehicle operations. As Lieutenant, Gordon was the Marine Enforcement Unit supervisor in Region 2, which enforces state Environmental Conservation Law and other laws in the New York City metropolitan area and surrounding marine district. In 2016 and 2018, Gordon was assigned as Officer in Charge of the 20th and 21st Basic Schools for Uniformed Officers while serving as Training Lieutenant. As Captain of the Training Unit, Gordon will oversee all Law Enforcement trainings statewide. He will be responsible for developing training programs and course outlines in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice Services, as well as other state and federal agencies, to ensure DEC officers are trained to the highest possible standards. Captain Gordon will also direct the daily operations of the DEC Training Facility with his staff.

Two ECOs shaking hands for a photo in front of the NYS flag and US flag
Captain Aaron Gordon is congratulated on his recent promotion by Division of Law Enforcement Director Bernard Rivers

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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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