Carl, Mitchell ready to serve DEC

Heather L. Carl of Westerlo is one of 30 environmental conservation officers and Tyler R. Mitchell of Guilderland is one of 14 forest rangers to graduate on Dec. 6 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s 22nd Basic School for Uniformed Officers.

The 44 new officers received their diplomas in a formal ceremony at the Expo Center at the New York State fairgrounds in Syracuse.

The Basic School began May 19 and ran for 29 weeks at the DEC Office of Public Protection’s Training Academy in Pulaski, in Oswego County, located along the Salmon River.

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 22nd Basic School graduates are from communities across New York State.

ECOs, originally called game protectors, were first appointed in 1880 and undertake actions ranging from investigating deer poaching and checking fishing licenses on local waterways to conducting surveillance on corporate chemical dumping. Across the state in 2018, ECOs responded to more than 21,668 calls and issued more than 20,665 tickets.

Forest rangers, originally called fire wardens, 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 2018, DEC forest rangers conducted 346 search-and-rescue missions, extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres, participated in 24 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 611 acres and worked on cases that resulted in 2,354 tickets or arrests.

The graduating class will join the ranks of 275 ECOs and 131 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 2016.

More Community news

  • BETHLEHEM — The chamber of commerce here is celebrating Bethlehem Restaurant Appreciation Week from Jan. 25 to 31.

  • An annual calendar is the result of an art contest launched in 2004 by the Foundation for Quality Care Inc., the New York State Health Facilities Association, and the New York State Center for Assisted Living.

  • BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem Grange has extended its Christmas food drive due to continuing need.

    “If  you or your group would like to donate any items, it would be greatly appreciated,” wrote Carol Carpenter, Grange president, in an email.

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