The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has recognized several Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Officers, including the officer who was instrumental in the investigation into missing ticket money from Hammonasset Beach State Park. The ceremony was Wednesday at 6:30 PM at Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill.
“Today’s honorees – and all of our EnCon officers – are part of a unique law enforcement team charged with protecting the people of this state as well as our natural resources and wildlife,” said DEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty, in a prepared release. “In addition to fulfilling traditional law enforcement functions, EnCon officers are the watchdogs of the beauty and richness of our state ensuring that we leave a Connecticut for our children and grandchildren that is as scenic and abundant with wildlife as it is today.”
Conservation Officer of the Year
"The Conservation Enforcement Officer of the year award is presented annually to an officer of the Division who has exhibited throughout the year, exemplary and enthusiastic performance in their efforts to protect our natural resources and to provide for the safety of the public through enforcement, public education and outreach and in the advancement of our state wildlife and fisheries conservation programs. Each year one officer from each District is nominated for this award by the supervisors of the District. The officer to receive the award is then selected from those nominated through a vote of the field officers of the Division.
Officer Stephen Stanko
Hometown: East Hampton
Date of Hire: 02/16/2007
Environmental Conservation Police Officer Stephen Stanko has been a member of the Connecticut Division of State Environmental Conservation Police since February 2007, recently taking assignment in the Marine District following his early years in the Western District. A veteran police officer who previously served with both the East Hampton and Middletown police departments, Officer Stanko has always shown high enthusiasm in his job. His extensive police background and willingness to learn new tasks and procedures have helped him complete many types and complexities of marine cases, as well as having one of the highest case loads in the Marine District.
Already well-versed in police investigative procedures, Officer Stanko had several opportunities to use these skills in various criminal investigations at Hammonasset Beach State Park. In June 2010, Officer Stanko was tasked with the investigation of a considerable amount of missing money from the ticket gates at Hammonasset. Drawing on previous experience while using newly learned techniques, he incorporated and used the expertise of other officers and park personnel, effectively used surveillance equipment loaned by another agency, developed suspects, and gained direct confessions leading to three felony arrests for the larceny of several thousand dollars of park entrance fees.
Officer Stanko’s work ethics, passion for the job, knowledge and experience have gained him the respect of both his peers and the public for which he works. He continues to prove himself to be a valuable asset to the Marine District, the Division of Environmental Conservation Police, and to the citizens and natural resources of Connecticut."