The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has recognized several Environmental Conservation Police Officers and others for their work in protecting residents and the environment.
A Unit Citation was awarded in recognition of the collective effort by members of a district. EnCon Officers Edward Yescott, Erin Flockhart, K9 Ellie, and Sergeant Tate Begley received the recognition for the response to an incident in Kent. The Western District EnCon officers apprehended a convicted felon in possession of a firearm as part of a long term investigation into illegal poaching activity occurring on National Parks Service property.
A medal for outstanding service was presented to Sergeant Tate Begley for his response to a report of a possible missing female hiker on the Appalachian Trail in Kent. The response turned into a drug bust of a disheveled male hiker.
When Begley approached, the man dropped his gear and jumped off a cliff into the Housatonic River. Begley apprehended him on the opposite side of the river. During the foot pursuit the man dumped a container believed to contain heroin in the river. The suspect, Justin Kyle Hoffman, was subsequently arrested for an incident involving unwanted sexual advances of teenage girls at a private school not far from his camp.
Among the awards was the Boating Officer of the Year.
Officer Joseph Ruggiero, a 22-year veteran of the Environmental Conservation Police force, was this year's recipient. Officer Ruggiero has conducted patrols on Connecticut’s busiest waters during that time, including the Housatonic Rivers, and many lakes, ponds and most of Long Island Sound. He was originally assigned in his earlier years to the Western Marine sector. DEEP officials say his dedication to conservation law enforcement and the public’s boating safety continues to be outstanding.