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NYC DEP Welcomes 44 New Recruits to the Staff Sgt. Robert H. Dietz DEP Police Academy

Recruits will participate in seven months of training to protect reservoirs, aqueducts, dams and other facilities that collect and convey drinking water to New York City

Photos from the recruits’ swearing-in ceremony can be found on DEP’s Flickr page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently welcomed 44 new recruits to the Staff Sgt. Robert H. Dietz DEP Police Academy in the City of Kingston. The new recruits comprise a diverse class that includes three military veterans, men and women who were born in eight different countries and speak 10 different languages. The recruits will participate in seven months of rigorous training before joining the DEP Police as sworn officers to protect the largest municipal water supply in the United States.

“We depend on our highly trained DEP Police to secure a vast water supply that sustains 9.5 million New Yorkers every day,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “The scope and importance of their work cannot be overstated. As criminal and environmental threats evolve, our DEP Police must ensure the safety of large reservoirs, hundreds of water supply facilities and a watershed that spans 1.2 million acres. Our new recruits will soon play an important role in securing the water supply, and I want to congratulate them and their families as they begin months of training.”

The new class of recruits is the 13th to be trained through an academy run by DEP, and the third to be trained at the department’s new academy facility in Kingston. The class was selected from among 1,568 candidates who were screened through physical training exams, medical tests, and background checks. The new recruits include:

  • A total of 36 men and eight women.
  • Ages ranging from 20–36.
  • Three veterans of the Navy, Army Reserve and National Guard.
  • People born in Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America.
  • Those who speak languages that include Akan, Arabic, Bengali, English, Greek, Patois, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Yoruba.
  • Residents of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester counties, and the five counties that comprise New York City.

DEP police recruits go through a rigorous program that comprises 1,275 hours of training over the span of seven months. New York State requires new police officers to undergo 750 hours of training. Recruits who train at the DEP Police Academy learn law enforcement fundamentals such as criminal procedure law, vehicle and traffic law, penal law and defensive tactics. They also focus on special topics that prepare them to protect the reservoirs, lands and infrastructure that provide high-quality drinking water to 9.5 million people every day—nearly half the population of the State of New York. These special topics include environmental enforcement, counterterrorism, and a detailed overview of the water supply’s infrastructure and facilities. Upon graduation, new recruits and their colleagues in the DEP Police Division are charged with protecting 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, more than 180,000 acres of watershed land, roughly 300 miles of aqueducts, 29 water supply dams, 57 bridges, seven wastewater treatment plants, and more than 280 shafts, chambers, laboratories and other facilities that help the water system function. These facilities and lands stretch across parts of eight counties and roughly 2,000 square miles of watershed.

Recruits trained at the DEP Police Academy will eventually be stationed at one of seven DEP Police precincts in Ashokan, Beerston, Downsville, Eastview, Gilboa, Grahamsville or Yonkers. The DEP Police Division, which was established more than 100 years ago, patrols the watershed by foot, bicycle, all-terrain vehicle, motorcycle, boat and helicopter. It also maintains specially trained units that include a detective bureau, emergency service unit, canine unit and aviation unit.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $166 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.