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DEC’s K-9 Cramer, named for fallen officer, to work on LI

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Law Enforcement presented its new Long Island-based K-9 police dog, which demonstrated skills used to assist DEC environmental conservation officers (ECOs) in protecting the state's fish, wildlife, and environment on Dec. 2, 2016. Credit: News 12 Long Island

You could say the German shepherd tasked with helping protect New York State’s fish, wildlife and environment has a name that personifies such responsibilities.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday showed off the newest member of its canine enforcement team, Cramer, a 1 1⁄2-year-old male named in tribute to a fallen Long Island-based game protector.

William T. Cramer was 42 in 1929 when he was shot and killed by poachers as he patrolled Idlewild Woods near what is now Kennedy Airport. The hunter convicted of second-degree murder in Cramer’s death was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, according to the Police Benevolent Association of New York State’s online memorial.

Game protectors were the predecessors of today’s Environmental Conservation police officers, also known as ECOs, in New York State, the agency said in a news release.

Last year, Cramer, who lived in Ridgewood, was added to the state Police Officer’s Memorial in Albany and the agency held a memorial at his grave in Pinelawn Memorial Park in Pinelawn. His is one of a handful of line-of-duty deaths in the history of the environmental agency’s police force.

Officer Chris DeRose will be the handler and adviser for Cramer, the K-9 unit’s new trainee.

This marks the first time in nearly two decades that Long Island-based conservation officers will be able to use dogs as part of their protective force, the agency said.

Cramer will help find illegally taken fish and wildlife, locate spent shell casings during criminal investigations, and work to track and locate environmental law offenders, the agency said.

In addition to environmental police duties, Cramer also may be called upon to help other agencies across the state in everyday police work, the news release said.

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