LIVONIA — A Livingston County resident has joined the ranks of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s Uniformed Officers as an Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO).
According to a press release from the DEC, Evan McFee, of Hemlock, is one of 48 to to receive their diplomas at graduation from the DEC’s 20th Basic School for Uniformed Officers.
“New York’s environment and natural resources are now better served and protected thanks to these dedicated men and women,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Our new Environmental Conservation Officers will safeguard the health of our air, land, water and wildlife. Our new Forest Rangers will protect more than five million acres of state lands from forest fires and execute search and rescue missions in the state’s most hazardous locations. These graduates are a great addition to the proud history and dedicated ranks of Forest Rangers and ECOs across New York.”
McFee and 30 others graduated as ECOs. The other 17 graduated as Forest Rangers. This graduating class now joins 268 ECOs and 119 Forest Rangers currently serving across the state. Recruits in this newest class were selected from an eligible list of qualifications and passing scores generated from the most recent Civil Service exam, which was given in 2013.
The Basic School was held at the Division of Law Enforcement’s Training Academy in Pulaski, NY, which runs along the Salmon River.
The Academy began Feb. 29 and ran for 27 weeks. Training and coursework included environmental conservation law, criminal procedure law, vehicle and traffic laws, physical conditioning, firearms, wildlife identification, emergency vehicle operations, search and rescue, land navigation, boating, and wildfire suppression.
Originally called ‘Game Protectors’ in 1880, ECOs now fill many roles including investigating deer and checking anglers’ fishing licenses and monitoring corporate chemical dumping.
In 2015, ECOs responded to more than 25,000 calls in New York and issued more than 22,000 tickets.
“Since 1880, but now more than ever, the mission of the Division of Law Enforcement is vital to the protection of New York’s abundant natural resources,” said Joseph Schneider, Director of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “From Montauk Point and the City of Buffalo to deep in the Adirondack wilderness, ECOs protect New Yorkers from environmental damage and exploitation, whether enforcing clean air and water regulations, supporting fish and wildlife laws, investigating large scale environmental crimes, or ensuring solid waste is properly managed.”
The next ECO and Forest Ranger trainee exam is scheduled for November 19, 2016.