New York Cuffs & Collars – January 11th, 2013

Southern District highlights

Fishing license swap
(Onondaga County)

In late September, ECO Rick Head was checking fishing licenses on Otisco Lake. Head observed three men fishing in a boat. He approached the men, asking for their fishing licenses. One man held his license up and his friend looked in his bag, while the third man showed the officer his. When the officer turned his attention back to the second, that fisherman handed him his license. He was asked for identification. Unable to produce any, the officer asked the first man to see his license again, just to verify that they weren’t pulling “the old switcheroo.” The first man now couldn’t find his license, so the ECO held up the second man’s license and said “here it is.” Both fishermen said, “You got us” and accepted their tickets for fishing without a license and loaning a license.

Carrying on the business
(Steuben County)

In September, ECO Dave Hulett received a complaint from a property owner in the town of Urbana. The lady was having a problem with woodchucks and skunks living under a gazebo in her yard. Upon reading the local “shopper” newspaper, she found an advertisement for a nuisance wildlife control service. The property owner contacted the number listed and set up a meeting with the subject offering the nuisance service. The property owner met with an individual and paid her $400 to rid the gazebo of the skunks and woodchucks. The problem became more complicated when raccoons were caught in the live traps and left for several days without a return visit to the trap sites by the nuisance agent. The property owner, feeling sorry for the captive raccoons, made numerous calls and left messages with the trapper. When she received no response, she let the critters go. After continuous calls went unanswered, the complainant finally left a message advising the agent the authorities (DEC) were going to be called. Although she received no return call, the property owner noticed the advertisement vanished from the “shopper” and the traps were removed from the property. Hulett met with the complainant and took a deposition and obtained a copy of the check and “shopper” advertisement. Upon checking with the Special Licenses Unit in Albany, Hulett learned a nuisance wildlife control agent license had existed for an individual in Savona but had expired in 2010. Hulett located the suspect at her residence and conducted an interview. She said she had been expecting an officer to show up and that her husband had died some time ago and she was acting as a nuisance agent in his place as a means to make extra money. The laws governing nuisance agents were explained and tickets were issued for trapping during a closed season and failure to checks traps within a 24-hour period. She was due to appear in Urbana town court and her side business has been officially closed.

Prescription problem
(Fulton County)

On Sept. 2, ECO Nate Mead was dispatched to a report of a bear in a tree in the city of Gloversville a little after noon. Upon arrival, Mead located Gloversville Police Department officers as well as the bear behind 10 Ninth Avenue. The bear was napping about 60 feet up in the tree. The bear’s exit was blocked by a large crowd of onlookers and by the ECO and police officers. At this point, Mead headed toward his truck to grab some gear when he noticed a large 33-gallon bag of expired sample medication, packed full. The bag was lying outside behind the office building where Mead was handling the bear complaint. After a closer look, the ECO realized he had an improper storage of regulated medical waste case because the waste was outside, not properly marked and not secured or locked in a storage bin. With the area secured by police, Mead took pictures and left the bag there to identify who owned the building. A doctor was determined to be the owner and was called to the scene for questioning about the bag. He stated he forgot to bring the bag inside after the office closed for the day. Mead informed him that the bag should have never been placed outside in the first place without a proper storage bin. Mead issued a notice of violation to the doctor and seized the bag. A call was placed to the Drug Enforcement Administration to determine how to dispose of the products. On Sept. 7, the bag of medication was turned over to the DEA for disposal and possible charges to be filed. The New York State Health Department was also notified. The doctor agreed to a $2,000 penalty under an order on consent.

DWI jury trial
(Orange County)

On Sept. 4, ECO Jeff Conway testified at a DWI trial in Orange County Court. A town police officer had made a vehicle stop of a suspected deer jacker and ended up charging the driver with felony DWI. The defendant’s attorney questioned the officer’s probable cause for the vehicle stop and argued that deer jacking was not a common offense. The attorney claimed that the criminal case against his client should be dismissed on the grounds that he was stopped unlawfully. Conway was called to testify about the occurrence of deer jacking and the legal issues concerning this violation such as the ECL definitions pertaining to spotlighting and probable cause for vehicle stops. The driver was subsequently convicted of his 10th DWI offense.

Night Out Against Crime
(New York County)

On Aug. 7, ECOs Timothy Machnica, Dustin Dainack and Brent Wilson participated in the Night Out Against Crime event at Riverbank State Park in Manhattan. The event brings together local law enforcement agencies and community, providing an opportunity for families to meet and interact with local officers and together take a stand against crime. ECOs were joined by members from the New York State Park Police New York City Police Department, New York City Fire Department and U.S. Homeland Security. Agencies set up booths and gave out gifts and educational materials to the nearly 300 children that attended the event.

Smoke signals
(Richmond County)

In August, ECOs Alan Brassard and Jennifer Okonuk attended the Night Out Against Crime event in Staten Island. The event consisted of many local, state and federal agencies. The event is held throughout New York City and it gives the public the opportunity to interact with other agencies becoming more informed about the different services the agencies provide. Brassard and Okonuk met several children and adults alike who had no understanding of the DEC. The ECOs informed the public on the various enforcement areas of an ECO, ranging from recreational marine fishing to environmental quality enforcement. The event was a great success and was attended by thousands of people.

Firewood detail
(Dutchess/Ulster counties)

On Aug. 31, ECOs Bob Hodor, Myles Schillinger, Claude Stephens, Deo Read and Lt. David Clayton worked a firewood detail at the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. There were ECOs posted on both the west and east sides of the Hudson River crossing. USDA and DEC civilian staff were on hand to inspect any vehicle that carried firewood. Multiple vehicles were stopped and several citations were issued.

Greenwood Lake triathlon
(Orange County)

On the morning of Sept. 9, ECOs Aaron Gordon and John Helmeyer assisted the Greenwood Lake Police with safety and boat traffic control for the swimming portion of a triathlon which was held in the village of Greenwood Lake. The portion of Greenwood Lake that was used for the race was restricted from boaters and patrolled by the Greenwood Lake patrol boat and the two EnCon officers on division patrol jet-skis. Two swimmers had to be pulled from the water from cramping but no serious injuries were reported.

Emerald Ash Borer detail
(Dutchess County)

On Sept. 11, ECOs Bob Hodor, Myles Schillinger, Claude Stephens, Bev Whalen, John Helmeyer and Lt. David Clayton worked a firewood detail at the Newburgh Beacon Bridge. New York State Police, New York State Taxation, Homeland Security, USDA, and a DEC forester were on hand to inspect any vehicle that carried firewood. Multiple vehicles were stopped and several citations were issued.

National Hunting & Fishing Day
(Suffolk County)

On Sept. 22 Region 1 Division of Law Enforcement personnel participated in the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day event in Ridge sponsored by the Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen. DEC’s participation was coordinated by Lt. Dallas Bengel. ECOs Chris Lagree, Mark Simons, Josh Sulkey, Josh Wolgast and Capt. Tim Huss assisted with the event, which included a children’s fishing derby sponsored by the New York State Conservation Officers Association, which provided funding for the 100 trout stocked in Randall’s Pond for the derby. The assistance of Region 1’s freshwater fishing personnel and IFISHNY was an added asset to the success of the program.

Grand Slam hunter ed
(Saratoga County)

On Sept. 15, ECOs Mark Klein and Steve Shaw participated in the annual Grand Slam educational class at the 4-H Shooting Sports. Approximately 350 students attended this seminar that included hunter education, bow hunting and trapping courses. At the conclusion, each of the participating students received certificates in all three courses. The officers gave presentations at each of these courses discussing laws specific to the different venues.

Fishing derby
(Lewis County)

On Sept. 9, ECOs Fay Fuerch and Eric Roderick assisted with a fishing derby for underprivileged kids at the DEC Dadville ponds located behind the Dadville office in Lowville. The derby was coordinated by a local Eagle Scout candidate to introduce the sport of fishing to local children who may not have the chance to try fishing otherwise. Fishing rods were donated by various individuals and several organizations. Each child was able to take the rod home with them. The event was well attended with several first timers getting their first catches, including a turtle!

Youth pheasant hunt
(St. Lawrence County)

On Sept. 29, ECO Michael Sherry participated in the local youth pheasant hunt held at Basswood Lodge in the town of Canton. The River Valley Gun Dog Club, an affiliate of the St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmen’s Club, was the key player in the seventh annual youth hunt.
Thirty-seven youths ages 12 to 15 years old participated in the hunt. The day started out with a safety talk and trap shoot for the youths at Basswood Lodge. The youths were then brought over to the fields on Upper and Lower Lakes Management Area. Several of the River Valley Gun Dog Club members and their dogs were there to meet the youths. The youths were then given another safety talk and an explanation of the hunt. One of the club members and several adults took up to four youths out for their hunt.
The dogs are released into the fields and go on point on a bird. Then a youth is brought up to the dog and the dog handler explains what may happen when the bird is flushed, where the youth can shoot and cannot shoot. The dog handler allows the dog to flush the bird and the youth attempts to harvest their pheasant. Each youth has several attempts, with several youths taking their legal limit. Basswood Lodge offered the facilities for the hunt, the DEC provided the fields and pheasants, and the River Valley Gun Dog Club provided the manpower, dogs, ammunition and lunch for the youths. This year the pheasants from DEC were exceptionally healthy and large. The youths and their parents enjoyed the day and the experience.

Youth waterfowl hunt
(Oneida County)

On Sept. 22-23, the second annual youth goose hunt was held. The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation sponsored the hunt. ECOs from around the region came out to assist with the event. A safety day was held at the Cassidy Hollow Fish and Game Club in Oriskany Falls. The hunters were given a presentation on firearms safety, decoy set up, and goose hunting techniques. A skeet shoot was also held to hone shooting skills. Lunch was provided by the federation on both days. Ducks Unlimited, Gander Mountain, and Dick’s Sporting Goods made donations to the hunt. Twenty mentors donated their time to take out 16 youth hunters on properties around Oneida County. Property owners and farmers were gracious enough to allow the youth hunters to hunt on their land. The hunters harvested 52 geese in the early morning hours of Sept. 23. Mentors and hunters gathered at Cassidy Hollow after the hunt to share some stories and lunch. The mentors assisted with breasting out the birds for the hunters. The youth hunters left that day with a better understanding of waterfowl hunting and, hopefully, a lifelong love of the sport.

Sportsmen’s education
(Broome County)

In September, ECO Andrew McCormick took on the task of being the lead instructor at the first ever combination hunter/bowhunter education class offered in Broome County. With the assistance of ECO Eric Templeton and a contingent of eight other instructors, the class was given to 23 students, all of whom ended up leaving with both their hunter and bowhunter education certificates.

Fishing event
(Livingston County)

On Sept. 24, Lts. Matt Lochner and Josh Ver Hague, along with ECOs Brian Wade, Todd Smith, Eoin Snowdon and several DEC programs staff hosted a fishing event for the students of School of the Holy Childhood. The event was held at DEC’s Region 8 office pond in Avon. The annual event is sponsored by the New York State Conservation Officers Association and is aimed at teaching children the basics of fishing. The ECOs assisted in showing about 30 children how to fish. Many of the children at the event had never fished before and were very happy to start learning. The event was an overwhelming success and everyone left with a smile

National Hunting and Fishing Day
(Erie County)

On Sept. 22, ECOs Carl Gill, Robert Peinkofer and James Hunt participated with DEC wildlife staff at the National Hunting and Fishing Day event held at the Elma Conservation Club. There was an informational booth and various hands-on displays, and the ECOs answered questions and spoke to the many attendees. Hunt also did a K-9 presentation with the assistance of Peinkofer. More than 300 people attended the event, including 107 youths.

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