DEC investigator named Conservation Officer of the Year

ALBANY, NY — Neil Stevens, a 10-year veteran with DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement, was recently named the North East Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association (NECLECA) “Officer of the Year.”

NECLECA is a professional organization of the chiefs and command staff from 13 northeastern states, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA Office for Law Enforcement, and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Stevens holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in Natural Resource Conservation from Cornell University and recently became a pilot for DEC’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program, and was deployed to Puerto Rico last year as part of a relief team that helped the island regain electrical service.

As a member of the Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) unit, Stevens conducted criminal investigations with successful prosecutions in cases involving the illegal commercialization of fish and wildlife, hazardous waste investigations, and a fatal hunting-related shooting incident. This case required a particularly delicate approach, working closely with other agencies and prosecutors, and resulted in a guilty plea by the perpetrator.

Stevens, who lives in Central New York and is currently a member of the DLE’s Training Academy staff, enjoys spending time with his family and dog and piloting airplanes in his free time.