NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - New York state environmental conservation officers on Long Island are welcoming a new member to the force: a German shepherd specially trained to help protect the planet.
Officer Cramer is named in honor of a fallen game protector. He is one of the newest members of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's canine team. He is also the first four-legged officer equipped with a bulletproof vest and badge to join the DEC's protective force on Long Island in more than two decades.
Capt. Dallas Bengel said the dog is trained to detect spent gunpowder and illegal fish and wildlife. At a demonstration, Officer Cramer found a shell casing in seconds. In another demonstration, he managed to track down deer venison underneath one of the cars.
Environmental Conservation Officer Christopher DeRose is his partner. He says that people hiding illegal fish is a problem. He says the dogs smell the fish immediately.
Cramer gets different rewards for each task he performs. For instance, when he successfully finds a shell casing he gets a tennis ball and for meat detection he gets a tug toy.
DeRose says Cramer can also track people lost in the woods, such as a lost hunter or hiker, or someone with dementia who wanders off.
The Department of Environmental Conservation responded to over 6,400 calls on Long Island last year.