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DEC Contact: Jomo Miller (518) 357-2077

February 28, 2024


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement enforces the 71 chapters of New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State. In 2023, the Division of Law Enforcement fielded more than 101,500 calls, resulting in Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responding to more than 30,932 complaints and working on cases that resulted in nearly 16,900 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the illegal pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.


“DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Investigators from Brooklyn to Buffalo and beyond work around the clock to protect our environment, safeguard public health, and hold law breakers accountable,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “As DEC continues its efforts to build a Police force more reflective of the communities they serve, the public can rest assured that our Officers, in partnership with representatives of local, State, and federal law enforcement agencies, continue to enforce New York’s stringent Environmental Conservation Laws.”


Illegal Dumper Settles Case - Montgomery County 

On Feb. 7, the owner of a concrete company settled charges related to the illegal disposal of solid waste in Montgomery County.     


The investigation began on Oct. 3, 2023, when ECO Willson received a call from the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office requesting assistance in identifying a subject who had dumped construction and demolition (C&D) debris on State land off Route 5 in the town of Mohawk. The site is maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT).  


ECO Willson and Deputy Spaulding reviewed security footage from a DOT camera that showed a truck and dump trailer belonging to an area concrete company trespassing on the property three separate times the day before. DOT employees identified the truck from the pictures and explained they had previously encountered the owner/operator and advised him that he is not allowed to dump solid waste, clean fill, or any other material at the location.  


The subject later admitted to owning the concrete company and dumping multiple loads of solid waste. He received three tickets for penal law trespass and three tickets for illegal disposal of solid waste. After four months of legal proceedings, the defendant accepted a plea agreement with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office that required him to plead guilty to one count of illegal disposal of solid waste and pay a fine of $1,500, along with a $90 surcharge.


Truck caught on DOT camera entering State property (photo attached)


Construction and demolition debris unlawfully disposed in Montgomery County (photo attached)


Shellfish Shenanigans – Kings and Queens Counties 

ECOs in New York City recently conducted enforcement details focused on the illegal commercialization of shellfish. Officers Broughton, Parmelee, Rappold, Swart, and Veloski checked multiple wholesalers and retailers across northern Brooklyn and Queens between Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 for compliance. The ECOs ticketed two wholesalers for conducting business in New York without the necessary DEC permits and issued a Notice of Violation to a third wholesaler for possession of 100 undersized lobsters. The Officers ticketed another retailer for storing more than 200 clams and oysters in unsanitary conditions and seized the shellfish for proper disposal.


A similar detail in Brooklyn on Feb. 6 focused specifically on sanitation and invasive species regulations related to shellfish. ECOs Kortz and Rappold and Lieutenant Gates conducted a plainclothes detail in Brooklyn. Officers seized illegally possessed blood clams, illegally repackaged shellfish, raw oysters harvested from waters not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and mussels stored in unsanitary conditions. All tickets issued for various offenses are returnable to New York County Court.


ECOs Rappold (left) and Broughton (right) measure lobsters at a wholesaler in Brooklyn during shellfish detail (photo attached)


ECOs Kortz and Rappold with shellfish seized during enforcement detail in Kings County (photo attached)


Ice Fishing Clinic - Greene County 

On Feb 10., ECOs Woodin and Bohling, along with Forest Rangers Fox and Patterson, attended an educational ice fishing clinic at North-South Lake Campground in the town of Haines Falls. The clinic, organized by West Kill Brewing, LLC., and run by licensed fishing guides from Adirondack Ice, emphasized sustainability and safe practices while ice fishing. Attendees of age purchased New York State fishing licenses and learned how to determine safe ice conditions.  


Once on the ice, the guides divided the 30 participants into three groups for hands-on experience using augers, setting tip-ups, using jig rods properly, and operating fish finders. The ECOs assisted in providing general fishing and bait fish regulations to the anglers. 


In addition to the various ice fishing lessons, participants also caught pickerel.  


Visit the DEC website for more information on ice fishing safety.


Participant in Greene County ice fishing clinic celebrates successful catch (photo attached)


No Registration, No Safety Gear - Suffolk County  

On Feb. 10, ECOs Dickson and Simmons patrolled the Great South Bay on an unseasonably warm day with temperatures rising into the mid 50s. The Officers observed a group setting up for target shooting off Fox Island and a boat beached on the shore during their patrol and approached the area. The ECOs noticed the boat had an expired registration and several safety violations, including no sound signaling device, flares, fire extinguisher, or Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). The Officers identified the owner/operator in the target shooting group, contacted the town of Babylon Harbor Master to assist with safely escorting the vessel back to its home port, and ticketed the owner/operator for the lack of safety gear and expired registration. All tickets are returnable to Suffolk County First District Court.


ECOs Dickson and Simmons with Babylon Harbor Master escorting unregistered boat back to port (photo attached)


For the Birds in The Bronx – Bronx County 

On Feb. 15, ECOs Ableson and Parmelee attended a birding walk organized by DEC’s Division of Communication, Education, and Engagement. Students from Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx guided the walk through Mill Pond Park, which included direction on getting the best use of binoculars, keeping track of birds spotted, and identifying birds local to the area. These student environmental educators ranged from second to fifth grade-students and ECOs were honored to attend.  


ECO Parmelee attends guided birding walk at Mill Pond Park in the Bronx (photo attached)

Student educators identify a variety of bird species during bird walk (photo attached) 

Heavy Duty Teamwork – Suffolk and Queens Counties 

On Feb. 16, ECOs Zullo and Anderson joined the Suffolk County Sherriff’s Department and New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) for a truck inspection checkpoint in Flanders. The team inspected nearly 30 heavy duty diesel vehicles checking for compliance with safety, paperwork, and environmental regulations. DOT took four trucks out of service and law enforcement issued a total of 13 summonses, including four for State Environmental Conservation Law violations related to solid waste and air quality. 


On Feb. 21, ECOs in Queens County joined New York State Police Troopers for a similar heavy duty truck detail on Crossbay Boulevard. Officers Milliron, Kortz, Farner, Swart, and Parmelee checked for compliance related to air and water while Troopers enforced vehicle and traffic laws related to safety. Law enforcement issued a total of 15 tickets during the second detail.


ECOs and Suffolk County Sherriff’s Deputies work together during truck inspection checkpoint in Flanders, Suffolk County (photo attached)


ECOs Farner (left) and Kortz (right) inspect heavy duty diesel trucks in Queens County (photo attached)


ECO Outreach – Medford, Suffolk County 

ECOs in Suffolk County recently received an invite from the Medford Men’s Hunting Club to speak at the club’s monthly meeting. The group requested an ECO to provide participants a better understanding of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement. ECO Paschke spoke about the stringent training process to become an Officer and the daily job duties of an ECO – from fish and game enforcement to environmental quality issues.  


ECO Paschke addresses Medford Men’s Club in Suffolk County (photo attached)


To contact an ECO to report an environmental crime or to report an incident, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS for 24-hour dispatch or email (for non-urgent violations). 


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