Occ. Code 1616000
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION OFFICER, GRADE 15
New York State Department of Civil Service
NATURE OF WORK
Environmental Conservation Officers are located only in the Department of Environmental Conservation and are stationed throughout New York State. Within an assigned geographic area, positions in this class enforce provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law in order to protect, preserve and improve the quality of the States natural environment. The Officers observe various indicators of environmental quality and use in order to detect violations of the laws they enforce. They may take photographs and manipulate scales and other apparatus in taking samples and conducting simple on-site tests of environmental materials in order to detect and document incidents of pollution. They may operate cars, boats and snowmobiles in the patrol of their assigned territories.
CLASSIFICATION CRITERIA AND DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS
Positions in this class are law enforcement oriented as indicated by their police officer status (Criminal Procedure Law, Section 1.20); by the nature and frequency of the enforcement problems they encounter; by the policy of the State and the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the apprehension and prosecution of violators; and by the scope of the officers in-service training program (536 hours and traineeship) which substantially exceeds the minimum requirements of the Municipal Police Training Council.
The Environmental Conservation Officers perform law enforcement oriented duties throughout an assigned large geographic area typically 200 to 350 square miles. These officers enforce laws aimed at controlling or preventing a number of different kinds of spoilage of nature environment including air pollution, water pollution, the improper disposal of solid waste, use of harmful pesticides, use of detergents containing phosphates, demise of endangered species, improper use of snowmobiles and over-harvesting of fish and wildlife.
Because some violations of most aspects of such law pervade all areas of the State and because enforcement of this law requires cooperation among officers in different regions of the State, every Environmental Conservation Officer must be prepared to perform the full range of environmental law enforcement duties and must possess the full range of knowledge and abilities these duties require. However, at any given time individual officers will be primarily involved in a more limited variety of law enforcement activities reflecting the needs of the particular regions they serve.
These characteristics distinguish Environmental Conservation Officers from a variety of classes which are primarily involved in the enforcement of the Penal Law, the Vehicle and Traffic Law and other laws not directly concerned with the natural environment, and perform their law enforcement oriented duties at specific institutions, buildings or small geographic areas. These classes are University Police Officer 1, Grade 12, and Park Patrol Officer, Grade 12.
TYPICAL ACTIVITIES, TASKS AND ASSIGNMENTS
Enforces environmental laws in order to protect and assist in the management of the States natural environment.
Investigates complaints of violations and misdemeanors received from concerned individuals in order to detect and document violations and misdemeanors.
May present the States case in local criminal court in order to facilitate conviction of violators and misdemeanants.
Promotes compliance with environmental laws and individual responsibility for care of the environment at meetings of school groups, service groups, sportsmens clubs and other concerned organizations in order to facilitate enforcement activities.
Compiles a variety of reports, narrative and tabular, and records of enforcement activities in order to document these activities.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS
Positions in this class are primarily people oriented and have frequent verbal contacts with a variety of people. Environmental Conservation Officers frequently answer questions posed by hunters and fishermen as to opening dates of seasons, restrictions on size and manner of procurement of takes and catches; conditions of State lands and availability of game and a variety of other matters.
The officers also interview complainants and persons reporting alleged violations of the environmental law. They also question suspects to obtain information which may be used in prosecution. These parties may be abusive, argumentative and/or frightened and the officers must exercise both firmness and restraint as the situations indicate. These officers take care to observe the civil and human rights of arrested persons.
The officers cultivate close rapport with town justices and other law enforcement officers in and around their assigned areas. Officers call on magistrates to present appearance tickets they have issued and explain the nature of violations involved. They may also bring misdemeanants before the magistrates court at any time of day for prosecution. The officers also work closely with other law enforcement officers in the apprehension of environmental law violators and on special law enforcement projects.
Environmental Conservation Officers may frequently speak to college and school groups and classes and other concerned groups regarding the Departments programs. Officers attempt to persuade people to comply with environmental laws and to instill in them high positive values for the natural environment.
NATURE OF SUPERVISION
Environmental Conservation Officers work under the general supervision of a Supervising Environmental Conservation Officer who acts as a working supervisor within an assigned region. The Supervising Officer will determine and approve area and work time assignments, review written reports of activities submitted by the Environmental Conservation Officer and occasionally accompany the Environmental Conservation Officer on law enforcement patrol in order to directly observe and constructively criticize the officers work. However, for the most part, these officers work independently.
MACHINES, TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT USED
Environmental conservation Officers may be required to operate cars, boats and snowmobiles in the patrol of their assigned area. They also operate police radios, walkie-talkies, cameras and many use snowshoes and binoculars.
The officers regularly bear firearms and are periodically required to demonstrate their ability in the use of these firearms.
UNUSUAL WORKING CONDITIONS
Environmental Conservation Officers are required to work long and irregular hours on outdoor patrol, sometimes in extreme weather conditions, especially during hunting season. Furthermore, they may receive telephone complaints and reports at any time of day or night and may investigate such reports at any time.
Appointments to this class are normally made following successful completion of a two-year traineeship designed especially for Environmental Conservation Officers.
NOTE: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe. Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class. The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written. Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.