DEC’s law enforcement director Fanelli retiring

Albany — Peter Fanelli, director of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement, is retiring next month.

Fanelli said in an email his last official day in uniform will be June 12.

“As I have heard so many others say when they come close to leaving, it is with mixed emotions that I leave the best police force in the state,” Fanelli said in the email. “But 32 years is enough. With so many talented members recently being promoted to key positions around the division, I am more than confident that the leaders are there to take the Division of Law Enforcement forward into the future.”

Fanelli faced some major challenges during his tenure. DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement operated – and continues to do so – under a huge staffing shortage, with environmental conservation officers retiring and no ECO training academy in place to fill those slots.

A training academy is set to be held this year for up to 32 new officers, but even that number will leave ECO numbers down from past years, and additional officers are planning to retire and create more shortages.

Too, officers worked for several years without a current contract. A contract settlement last spring ended a lengthy negotiation and arbitration process and gave officers a pact that ran from April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2014, with retroactive pay raises but also a pay freeze for 2011-13.

Among those expected to be considered to replace Fanelli are Major Scott Florence, who heads DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation unit, and Major Tim Duffy, a spokesman for the department on several high-profile enforcement cases.

Fanelli was using accumulated leave time this month but indicated he would return June 12 for an awards ceremony. His last official day will be June 20.

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to serve with such a dedicated and professional group of men and women,” Fanelli said in his email.

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