On April 30, environmental conservation officer Damrath joined Erie County Chief Environmental Compliance Specialist John Hood at a household hazardous waste collection event in Orchard Park. More than 600 vehicles lined up at the Erie Community College South Campus to dispose of paints, pesticides, flammables and other hazardous materials. County residents could drop off up to 50 pounds of hazardous waste free of charge – waste that could otherwise have ended up in the environment or endangering first responders, highway crews and sanitation workers.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Law Enforcement enforces the 71 chapters of New York state’s environmental conservation law, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 1880, the first eight game protectors began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York. In 2021, 282 environmental conservation police officers (ECOs) and investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls. They worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations, ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
"DEC environmental conservation police officers and investigators are on the front lines each and every day protecting our natural resources by upholding New York’s environmental laws and regulations and safeguarding public health,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “From ensuring hunters and anglers follow rules and regulations afield and on the water, to sustaining partnerships with local law enforcement agencies investigating crimes that include solid waste dumping and air emissions violations, ECOs and investigators are on patrol, ready to serve their communities. Each year brings new challenges and, fortunately, these officers and investigators are expertly trained to perform their duties with persistence, integrity and good judgment, as they’ve done for over a century.”