The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is celebrating one of its officers from Herkimer County, who was recently named Wildlife Officer of the Year by an international group.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Wednesday that Shikar-Safari Club International had named Environmental Conservation Police Officer Darryl Lucas its Wildlife Officer of the Year.

"On behalf of DEC, I congratulate ECO Lucas for receiving this prestigious award," Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. "ECO Lucas exemplifies the tireless efforts DEC's law enforcement officers exhibit each day to enforce New York's environmental laws and ensure New York's environment and natural resources are protected for generations to come."

ECO Officer's award goes way beyond Herkimer County or even New York State. Shikar-Safari International Club's prestigious award honors an ECO out of all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and the territories of both nations.

According to the DEC's press release, ECO Lucas has been an officer for 28 years, but has been dedicated to protecting New York State's natural resources since he was young.

"Growing up hunting and fishing on Moriches Bay on Long Island, Officer Lucas witnessed people violating fish and game laws at an early age," the press release reads. "He was inspired to join the ranks of DEC's Division of Law Enforcement by his love of nature and inherent feeling of responsibility to protect it. Officer Lucas' drive is demonstrated by the long hours he has put in throughout his career to carry out his duties with honor and respect for the environment and New Yorkers."

In addition to his duties as an ECO in Herkimer County, Lucas is also a police defense tactics and firearms instructor. He lives with his wife, Nancy, and their two boys, Colton and Carson, and ECO Lucas enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and duck hunting.

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