Pulaski, NY - September 2, 2016 - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the graduation of 31 Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) and 17 Forest Rangers from the agency's 20th Basic School for Uniformed Officers.
The 48 new officers received their diplomas in a formal ceremony at the Kallet Theater in Pulaski.
"New York's environment and natural resources are now better served and protected thanks to these dedicated men and women," Commissioner Seggos said. "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."
The Basic School was held at the Division of Law Enforcement's Training Academy in Pulaski, 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, vehicle and traffic laws, physical conditioning, firearms, wildlife identification, emergency vehicle operations, search and rescue, land navigation, boating, and wildfire suppression.
The 48 successful graduates hail from 26 New York counties and range in age from 22 to 40 years old. Nine women are part of this year's graduating class (five ECOs and four Forest Rangers).
ECOs, originally called Game Protectors, were first appointed in 1880 and undertake actions ranging from investigating deer and checking fishing licenses on local waterways to conducting surveillance on corporate chemical dumping. Across the state, ECOs responded to more than 25,000 calls statewide and issued more than 22,000 tickets in 2015.
"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."
Originally known as Fire Wardens, the Forest Rangers were established in 1885 with the creation of the Forest Preserve. Their duties focus on protecting state lands and forests and include search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression and educating the public on the safe use of state lands. In 2015, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 341 search and rescue missions, extinguished 175 wildfires that burned a total of 3,924 acres, and issued nearly 3,000 tickets, many of which focused on Illegal operation of ATVs and snowmobiles on state lands.
"These men and women will be entrusted to protect New York State's natural resources and five million acres of state and public lands," said Eric Lahr, Director of DEC's Division of Forest Protection.
The graduating class will join the ranks of 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. To view job qualifications for ECOs visit the Environmental Conservation Officer job description webpage and for Forest Rangers, visit the Forest Ranger job description webpage.
The next ECO and Forest Ranger trainee exam is scheduled for November 19, 2016.
20th Basic School Graduates
Environmental Conservation Officers
ECO Christopher J. Amato, Patchogue, NY
ECO Kyle A. Bevis, Albany, NY
ECO Ike G. Bobseine, Cattaraugus, NY
ECO Justanna N. Bohling, Sauquoit, NY
ECO Timothy J. Brown, Randolph, NY
ECO Zachariah R. Brown, Lake Placid, NY
ECO Melissa M. Burgess, East Berne, NY
ECO Emma C. Carpenter, Farmingdale, NY
ECO William J. Chomicki, Poughkeepsie, NY
ECO Zachary R. Crain, Rensselaer, NY
ECO Anthony M. Drahms, Savannah, NY
ECO Charles F. Eyler III, Pleasant Valley, NY
ECO Nathan E. Godson, Depew, NY
ECO Mary B. Grose, Frankfort, NY
ECO Brian M. Gustitus, Hicksville, NY
ECO Michael J. Hameline, Rensselaer, NY
ECO Katie L. Jakaub, Bliss, NY
ECO Adam P. Johnson, Oswego, NY
ECO Andrew P. Kostuk, Cortland, NY
ECO Evan G. Laczi, Williamsville, NY
ECO Jarrod W. Lomozik, Ithaca, NY
ECO Christopher P. Macropoulos, Whitestone, NY
ECO Evan J. McFee, Hemlock, NY
ECO Maxwell P. Nicols, Middle Grove, NY
ECO Spencer L. Noyes, Munnsville, NY
ECO Lucas A. Palmateer, Athens, NY
ECO John T. Rich, Horseheads, NY
ECO Jason P. Smith, Lake George, NY
ECO Benjamin P. Tabor, Saranac Lake, NY
ECO Craig P. Tompkins, Beacon, NY
ECO Jonathon P. Walraven, Cohoes, NY
FR Yuko Ashida, Hopewell Junction, NY
FR Adam J. Baldwin, Tupper Lake, NY
FR Jared T. Booth, Morrisonville, NY
FR Katherine M. Fox, West Nyack, NY
FR John A. Franceschina, Fort Montgomery, NY
FR Andrew S. Lewis, Wilmington, NY
FR Dylan T. McCartney, Bainbridge, NY
FR Melissa L. Milano, Newcomb, NY
FR Peter F. Morehouse, North Creek, NY
FR Hannah R. O'Connor, Lake Clear, NY
FR Brandon S. Poulton, Newcomb, NY
FR William F. Roberts, Groton, NY
FR Zachary L. Robitaille, Depew, NY
FR Matthew J. Savarie, Schroon Lake, NY
FR Nathan J. Shea, Westernville, NY
FR Nathan M. Sprague, Williamsville, NY
FR Ryan P. Sullivan, Poland, NY