Governor Kathy Hochul today announced 18 new graduates from the 23rd Basic School for Environmental Conservation Police Officers. As part of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Law Enforcement, the Officers will work in communities statewide to protect fish and wildlife and preserve environmental quality across New York. The ceremony held at the Empire Expo Center at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse celebrated graduates who completed six months of law enforcement and natural resources training in the classroom and in the field.
“It is critical that New York’s natural resources are protected and those that seek to exploit them are held accountable,” Governor Hochul said. “I congratulate the new graduates on their hard work to join the ranks of the hundreds of other dedicated Environmental Conservation Officers patrolling our lands and waters statewide and we wish them long, safe, and fulfilling careers.”
For the last six months, Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) recruits completed more than 1,000 hours of training at the Academy in Pulaski, Oswego County, which has served as the home of these trainings for several years. While the first weeks focused primarily on basic police skills such as physical training, drill and ceremony, and computer lessons, recruits also delved into more intensive instruction including firearms training, emergency vehicle operation, chemical waste dumping, and identifying poachers, among other skills. Of the 20 recruits who started, 18 remained once the training ended and will join DEC’s ECO force for a total of 305 sworn Officers.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Our newest ECO class made it through a rigorous training process to join their fellow Officers in the difficult but rewarding law enforcement work ahead in communities across the state. I am honored to work with these new Officers and their colleagues to prevent polluters, illegal dumpers, and poachers, protect public safety, and continue engaging communities to enhance public appreciation of New York’s natural resources.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Law Enforcement Director, Karen Przyklek said, “These six months of training prepared our recruits to face a diverse workload of cases in both general law enforcement and environmental law. Each day our Officers are working a number of cases, from enforcing clean air and water regulations, to supporting fish and wildlife laws, and investigating large scale environmental crimes, all in an effort to protect New Yorkers from environmental pollution and exploitation. I’m confident our new Officers are ready to continue that rich tradition of environmental protection.”
The Environmental Conservation Police Officer title, in the various forms of its evolution over the decades, is the oldest statewide enforcement job in New York State. Originally, Game Protectors were first appointed for service in 1880 and the proud history of the Division continues more than 140 years later. Last year alone, ECOs and Investigators responded to more than 26,000 calls and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 11,600 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations. To learn more about ECOs, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2437.html. Upon graduation, recruits will be assigned patrol areas in one of nine DEC regions.
Below is the list of the graduates of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s 23rd Basic School for ECOs:
Tyler Ableson, Cortlandt Manor
Michael Broughton, Staten Island
Benjamin Clinger, Randolph
Timothy Day, Binghamton
Laura DeVito, Shirley
Kyle Farner, Gowanda
Casey Giarratana, Floral Park
Christopher Goonan, Syracuse
Derek Hilton, Hannibal
Frank Keegan, Troy
Joan Korey, Pine Bush
Abigail Kortz, Troy
Justin McGhee, Hampton Bays
Justin Rappold, Albany
Bradley Smith, Plainview
Brandon Swart, Cazenovia
Nicholas Vandenbos, Warwick
Emilio Zullo, Somers
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