Few people realize the great tradition of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement (DLE). The oldest state law enforcement organization in New York State remarkably began with a contingent of eight men appointed as Game Protectors in 1880. Since then, DLE has grown to a force of more than 300 uniformed Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) and plainclothes investigators. Their dedication to duty has its roots in a long and proud tradition of fish and wildlife enforcement, that also includes environmental protection today. 2005 marks the 125th anniversary of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement, and here is its story.