This morning I came across a video on CNN that followed a couple of New York’s finest throughout their daily beat… but these officers weren’t handing out traffic tickets or thwarting robberies. Instead, they were patrolling the fish section of a Chinatown market for the sale of illegal species, wrangling a humpback whale out of the NY Harbor, and performing a roadside smog-test on a panel truck.
At the forefront of New York’s effort to clean our air and water, save our wilderness, protect our wildlife and make the environment a better place for us all is the Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO). As the uniformed law enforcement representative of the Department of Environmental Conservation, the ECO is the person in the field responsible for the enforcement of the environmental laws and regulations of New York and for the detection and investigation of suspected violations.
Now, I personally think that this is pretty cool. I used to think that the only safeguard against environmental law-breaking was whistleblowers, concerned citizens and watchdog groups… none of which have the perceived authority of a police officer. But with a badge and a uniform, these guys and gals mean business.
Hopefully, this system of ECO police can serve as a model for the rest of the United States, as it would do a ‘world of good’ to the environment and the communities in which we all live.
Cameron for My Wonderful World