Fallen DEC officer honored

David J. Valesky

April 17, 2014

Ashley M. Casey / APR 13, 2014

The state Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Law Enforcement this week hosted a graveside memorial ceremony in honor of Samuel S. Taylor, the first environmental officer killed in the line of duty in New York state.

Taylor, a game protector (now called environmental conservation officers), was fatally shot at the age of 38 on April 5, 1914, after attempting to apprehend a duck hunter while patrolling the banks of the Mohawk River.

In recognition of Game Protector Taylor’s unwavering sacrifice, DEC created an award in his honor. Started in the 1990s, DEC awards environmental conservation officers who, by a conspicuous act of valor, courage, integrity, resourcefulness and bravery in the protection of natural resource or public safety, have clearly set themselves apart in performing their duties.

In addition to this honor, Game Protector Taylor’s name will finally be added to the fallen officer’s memorial wall in Albany during the Police Officers Remembrance Ceremony May 6, 100 years after his passing. 

This distinction was previously denied, however DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement fought persistently for this well-deserved tribute.

Attending the graveside service for Taylor were Maj. D. Scott Florence, DEC Division of Law Enforcement Acting Director; DEC Deputy Commissioner Chris Walsh; DEC regional law enforcement captains; state Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida; state  Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, past  Samuel Taylor award recipients; and local DEC officers.

The service was April 9 in Woodlawn Cemetery, Hamilton, Madison County.