A typical day at the Training Academy begins with a class in Physical Training at about 5:30 a.m. Then breakfast is in order at 7:00 a.m. At 8:00 a.m., the first of the day’s classes begin. Recruits may be learning Criminal Procedure Law, Wildlife Identification, or First Aid skills depending on the schedule. After an hour break for lunch at noon, classes resume at 1:00 p.m. and continue through 5:00 p.m. After dinner, comes time for study, preparing class assignments and cleaning of living quarters.
The days are full at the Training Academy and not all the classes are conducted in a traditional classroom. Another day may find the Recruits at the EVOC track learning the techniques necessary to skillfully operate a police sedan, 4X4, or all-terrain vehicle; or at the firearms range developing their marksmanship and firearms handling proficiency. Snow, rain or shine, the training continues regardless of conditions. This is an outdoor career and we train in the same conditions that we must conduct our daily duties.
The training can be difficult and demanding. Not all Recruit Candidates are successful in the completion of the Basic Training School. The academic standards are high for graduation. It requires deep commitment, determination and a lot of hard work on the part of those in pursuit of a career as an Environmental Conservation Officer. An example of the Basic Training School curriculum can be reviewed by clicking here.
Upon graduation from the Basic Training School, the Recruit Candidates are assigned to the Field Training and Evaluation Program. During this period, the trainees work in the field under senior ECOs who are specially trained and certified as Field Training Officers. The trainees undertake the regular duties and responsibilities of an Environmental Conservation Officer, and are evaluated, on a daily basis, for their performance. Every aspect of their work and job performance are observed and critiqued by the Field Training Officers. The “FTO”s, as they are called, also instruct and mentor the trainees, further preparing them for conducting solo patrols. After successful completion of the Field Training and Evaluation Program, the trainees take up their first assignments and begin to work a patrol sector on their own.
The process of becoming an Environmental Conservation Officer is complicated and difficult. It is a process that begins long before the taking of the civil service examination. It begins early in life with a special affinity and appreciation for nature, wildlife and a clean environment. It continues with the passionate pursuit of those interests and the attainment of higher education. The final steps in the process may be the most challenging, but the rewards are many and the satisfaction gained by the achievement cannot be described, but must be experienced.
The final reward of attaining the position and title of Environmental Conservation Officer is understanding the significance of the duties that title carries. The natural resources and environment of our beautiful state are constantly at risk. There are those who would degrade and destroy them through various means and for many reasons. It is the responsibility of the Environmental Conservation Officer to protect those valuable resources so that future generations can enjoy them as we do today. ECOs across the state work diligently to accomplish this mission every day, and they are successful. From Niagara Falls to Montauk the wildlife is plentiful, the streams run with clear, clean waters and are abundant with fish. Our wetlands contain nesting birds and colonies of beaver, and the air is clean and fragrant. Every Environmental Conservation Officer takes pride and satisfaction in the fact that he or she has contributed to the preservation of these priceless resources through hard work performed on a daily basis throughout their careers.