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Environmental Conservation Police on Patrol
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Environmental Conservation Police on Patrol

crumpled white paper sandwich bag with a colorful sub printed on it

For Public Release: Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Division of Law Enforcement of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), enforces the 71 chapters of New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). This protects fish and wildlife, and preserves environmental quality throughout New York. The first eight Game Protectors were established in 1880 to protect the state’s natural resources and citizens. 298 Environmental Conservation Police officers (ECOs), and investigators from the state responded in 2020 to 29,673 calls. They dealt with cases that resulted or arrested in 11,952 tickets for crimes ranging, among others, from deer poaching to illegal mining, solid waste dumping and illegal mining to the black market pet trading and excessive emission violations. Some of these incidents cause injuries, property damage or even death. This year, ECO Highlights will be changing to ‘Environmental Conservation Police On Patrol.

“DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers & Investigators are on the front line every day to protect our natural resource by upholding New York’s environment laws and regulations, and protecting public health.” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.“From ensuring that anglers and hunters comply with rules and regulations afield, to sustaining partnerships between local law enforcement agencies investigating crime such as solid waste dumping and air emission violations, ECOs/Inspectors are always on patrol, ready and available to serve their communities.” Each year brings new challenges. These Officers and Investigators have been trained with the same expertise for over 100 years to meet these challenges.

Sub Sandwich leads to Illegal Deer Charges in St. Lawrence County
ECO Atwood received a call on Nov. 9 regarding a possible deer jacking at Edwards. The Officer arrived on the scene and collected a sub sandwich bag and a trail camera picture of the suspect vehicle. ECO Atwood then went to a local sandwich shop to obtain video that identified the vehicle as well as the suspects. The ECO presented the evidence to the suspects, and they both admitted to illegally having a doe.

crumpled white paper sandwich bag with a colorful sub printed on it
Sandwich bag with empty contents found at scene of illegal deer taking

Illegal Hunting from an ATV in Chautauqua County
Budniewski & Kinney received a report on Nov. 21 regarding an individual who was using an ATV to hunt in Ellery. The ECOs waited in a secret location to find out where the suspect would leave the woods. The suspect left the woods with a deer and was soon questioned by Officers. He admitted to shooting the buck using his ATV. The ECOs issued tickets against the hunter for taking illegal deer, possessing a loaded weapon on a vehicle, using a vehicle to take wildlife, and possessing untagged deer. The suspect was arrested one month later and was fined $700. He could also lose his hunting privileges for up five years.

ECOs Conduct Hunting Enforcement Detail – Niagara County
ECOs Scheer (Wolgast), Holzle, Fonda and Fuerch conducted an enforcement detail on the Southern Zone Regular Big Game Season in the early afternoon hours. Officers observed a few violations of Environmental Conservation Laws during the detail. These included three loaded firearms in motor cars, two untagged deer and one individual failing to report deer harvests within seven days. ECOs were pleased to see that most hunters followed hunting regulations while afield. Officers were also impressed by the stories and harvests of hunters.

Tracks in the snow lead suspects in illegal Deer Take – St. Lawrence County
On Nov. 29, ECO Jackson patrolled a Lorraine area known for deer jacking. The Officer noticed a spotlight in a field near his location, and then heard a single gunshot from the same spot. ECO Jackson rushed for help, but the shooter ran into the woods. Lieutenant Bartoszewski volunteered to help ECO Jackson find the culprits. He identified two sets of shoe prints in freshly fallen snow. They found a dead spike-horn buck in the field. The officers followed the tracks into the swamp and made their way to a roadway, where they likely found the suspects. Over the next few days, Investigator Malone, Lt. Bartoszewski and ECO Jackson returned to the site. Two suspect poachers were interviewed. Two suspects were interviewed and the officers confiscated the weapon used in the incident. They issued appearance tickets to the shooter, for unlawfully taking protected wildlife, hunting during closed hours, and taking whitetail deer using an artificial light. The Town of Lorraine Court is currently hearing the case.

Pennsylvania Violations – Chautauqua County
ECO Kinney met a hunter on Dec. 14 while inspecting several deer processors within Chautauqua County. He had not reported his deer harvest. Officer Kinney spoke to the hunter and discovered that the subject was a resident big-game hunter license despite his Pennsylvania residency. ECO Kinney cited him for illegally taking a deer, making a false declaration while applying for a license and being a nonresident hunting without a valid archery license. The violations were corrected by ECO Kinney a week later. The man was fined $550 civil.

Angels Project – St. Lawrence County
ECO Sherry helped the Brierhill Volunteer Fire Department with their annual Angels Project. This delivers Christmas gifts to families in the Morristown Hammond and Macomb regions. The Officers delivered food parcels to 41 families and Christmas gifts for 100 children this year. The deliveries were assisted by members of the New York State Police and New York Park Police, U.S. Customs and Immigration and the Brier Hill Volunteer fire Department.

Large room with tables that have baskets of toys on them
Angels Project delivered toys to children in St. Lawrence County

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