New York Cuffs & Collars – April 19th, 2013
Tired Of illegal dumping
On Dec. 13, ECO Eric Templeton and Tom Gragg with DEC’s Division of Air met with state troopers Quick and Schuler regarding an illegal tire dumping complaint in the town of Kirkwood. A few days earlier, state police had met with town code enforcement officer Scott Russell at the dumping site located in a parking lot next to a vacant commercial building. Two receipts were found in two separate tires which eventually led them to the person responsible for the dumping. The subject worked for a local auto sales and repair shop in the area. During an interview, the subject stated he had dumped the tires without the employer’s knowledge. The case was turned over to Templeton. The officer, along with Gragg, interviewed the vice president of operations of the business and also inspected the facility for compliance with regulations regarding handling of waste tires, automotive fluids and paints, including proper storage, containment, and disposal, and requirements pertaining to spray painting and wastewater management. The business was not keeping the records for its tire disposal and had assumed the tires were going to the Broome County Landfill. Templeton and Gragg went to the original site and counted 170 tires. They later returned to the location to verify the tires had been removed and also went back to the business to review the disposal receipts. Administrative action for the solid waste violations is currently pending.
ECO Richard Head responded to a call from Onondaga Indian Nation security regarding the remains of two deer carcasses left on the side of a Nation road. One of the deer heads had a carcass tag on it. Head ran the tag number through the system, which led him to a local hunter. After several back and forth interviews it turned out that the tag holder’s friend admitted to dumping the carcasses on the Nation property. He was ticketed for illegal disposal of solid waste and failing to tag a deer he had taken. Nation security thanked Head for his work and was to follow up with the pending charges in the Onondaga town court.
In early December near the end of the regular big-game season, ECO Stan Winnick received a call from a concerned resident on Tallow Hill Road in the town of Spencer who had just spoken to a neighbor. The neighbor stated he was walking his dog and witnessed someone shoot a deer from a truck stopped on Tallow Hill Road. Winnick then patrolled to a hunting camp and interviewed the hunters. After obtaining written confessions from the shooters, Winnick issued multiple tickets pertaining road hunting to the hunters. Winnick then patrolled to the location of the deer that was dead near the side of the Tallow Hill Road. The buck that was killed illegally was very small, weighing less than 60 pounds. The deer was confiscated and donated.
Big Brother is always watching
On Dec. 31, ECO Shawn Dussault responded to the Port Authority in the city of Oswego for a complaint that three waterfowl hunters were shooting from a boat on the Oswego River within the city limits. Dussault met with the caller and was shown a surveillance video of the three in action. While watching the video, Dussault quickly realized there was much more to the complaint than just shooting within the city limits. As the video rolled on, it showed the three hunters motor up to and shoot several ducks from the moving boat. After receiving a copy of the video, Dussault made contact with the three hunters and called their boat to shore. While talking with the hunters and giving them some details of their morning hunt, it didn’t take long for them to confess to their unethical and illegal hunting activity. Dussault put an end to the day’s hunt and instructed the hunters to return to the launch. Once there, the hunters apologized for their actions.They explained they were better hunters than what their earlier actions showed. Dussault explained that he usually either gives a ticket or lecture, but in this case, they deserved both. The three hunters faced multiple charges, some of which were addressed with warnings and others that were addressed with tickets. Those offenses addressed with tickets included possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and taking migratory game birds from or by means of a motor-driven boat. At the conclusion of the interaction a lecture was also given on their unethical hunting methods.
‘Do as I say, not as I do’
On Thanksgiving morning, a large 8-point buck was shot illegally, but ECOs Nathan Doig and George Wilber did not receive information on the illegal killing until Dec. 5. Doig and Wilber interviewed a couple of the complainants and then interviewed the possible shooter. The poacher, a DEC instructor, eventually admitted to shooting an 8-point buck from his pick-up truck within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling. The hunter ed instructor was charged with five misdemeanors and one violation. He was charged with shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling, possessing a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, shooting from a public roadway, illegally taking a deer, killing a deer with the aid of a motor vehicle and trespass on posted property. The individual was arraigned at the Delhi Town Court.
The honeymoon’s over
ECOs Liza Bobseine and Alena Lawston waited quietly as night fell on a crisp fall day on Nov. 24, 2012. The vehicle they were watching was parked just down the road on East Hampton town property, but the license plates belonged to a resident of Southampton. Since only East Hampton residents and their guests are allowed to hunt on town property, it seemed likely there was a trespass afoot. The vigil became even more worthwhile, however, as a pair of hunters emerged from the woods carrying archery equipment and a mostly empty feed bag. The pair, who had different last names and addresses that did not match their hunting licenses, identified themselves as a recently married couple who had been hunting from their ground blind. When questioned about the feed bag, the newlyweds were initially reluctant to discuss their hunting methods. An inspection of the area around their blind, however, revealed extensive deposits of cracked corn. Seven different piles of feed and trails of bait totaling over 60 yards leading to the blind were identified, after which the couple agreed to provide complete written statements accepting responsibility for their actions. Two summonses were issued to the newlyweds for hunting deer over bait.
‘I didn’t mean to hurt it’
On Nov. 29, Lt. George Steele and ECO Chris Lattimer were dispatched to a supermarket in the Bronx for a red-tailed hawk that had been shot. Upon arrival they met with the store manager, who stated that there had been a bird in the store earlier that morning but it was now gone. The manager then brought them outside and showed them a hawk in a neighbor’s tree. At this time, Lattimer asked the manager to show them where in the store the bird had been. The store manager brought Lattimer and Steele over to the deli/produce section and pointed on top of a shelf. Lattimer observed a couple splatters of blood on the shelf and the wall next to it. Steele and Lattimer then asked what happened to the bird and explained to him that a witness observed him shoot it. The manager then explained that he tried to get the bird out of the store with a broom but was unsuccessful, so he went to the office and grabbed an air rifle. He went over to the bird and shot at it, wounding it. He was then able to catch it and release it outside, where it flew away. The store manager was issued a summons for illegally injuring protected wildlife, returnable to Bronx County Criminal Court.
On Oct. 24, ECO Doreen Lum was dispatched to respond to a hazardous waste spill in Astoria. The spill was called in by LaGuardia Airport maintenance personnel, who were tasked with removing several abandoned drums outside Port Authority property. As the employees attempted to move the barrels, one of the drums tipped over, releasing approximately 10 pounds of mercury onto the ground. Lum assisted Port Authority police in securing the scene until a permitted environmental cleanup contractor arrived. The content of the drums was to be tested and the DEC Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation Unit (BECI) has started an investigation into the illegal disposal of a hazardous material.
(St. Lawrence County)
On Dec. 13, ECO Troy Basford was on patrol in the township of Brasher. Basford noticed a pickup truck towing a trailer pass him in the opposite lane. The truck and trailer appeared to be loaded with waste tires. Basford turned around and conducted a traffic stop. After interviewing the driver, Basford discovered there were 91 waste tires on the back of the truck. The driver did not possess the proper permit to transport the waste tires. Basford issued a ticket to the driver for transporting waste tires without a DEC permit.
Transfer facility screening
In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, ECO David Thomas was assigned to do security and screening at a temporary emergency transfer facility located on Father Capodanno Boulevard in Staten Island. The site was set up by the New York City Department of Sanitation and permitted by the DEC as a transfer facility where non-vegetative debris could be collected before it was transferred to Seneca Landfill in upstate New York. Thomas’s screening included monitoring debris being brought into the transfer station with a personal radiation detector to ensure no radioactive material was disposed of. Thankfully, what was once a staggering mountain of garbage eventually was reduced to a relatively small pile a month after the storm.