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Dundee Man Recognized for Leadership at State Parks Police Graduation


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (State Parks) announced 32 new graduates on Wednesday from the 17th Basic School of the State Park Police Academy. Capping six months of intense training, these new officers will now be assigned regionally to serve New York’s 250 parks and 35 state historic sites. Last year, those sites attracted a record of more than 79 million visitors.

“Today, we recognize the commitment of 32 officers who have answered the call to protect the people of New York,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “The members of the New York State Park Police work every day to protect our State Park visitors, tapping their specialized training to respond to all types of situations.

“Congratulations and thank you to these graduates and their families. These committed officers have undergone rigorous training. Their dedication leads to protecting a safe and welcoming environment for millions of visitors we have in our state park system each year – helping people in extreme circumstances or simply enjoying an educational visit, a family vacation, or a night under the stars.”

Graduation was held Wednesday at the Hall of Springs at Saratoga Spa State Park. For the past six months, the recruits were in residential training at the State Park Police Academy in Rensselaerville, Albany County. This is the first Basic School since 2019.

The following graduates received special recognition awards:

  • Officer Robert Costanzo of Dundee, NY, the recipient of the Leadership Award
  • Officer Matthew Olsen of Patchogue, NY, the recipient of the Academic Achievement Award (96.5%)
  • Officer James Hopkins of West Islip, NY, the recipient of the Physical Fitness Award
  • Officer Erik Torkildsen of New City, NY, the recipient of the Firearms Proficiency Award

State Parks Assistant Director of Park Police Col. Michael Daddona said, “Congratulations to our 32 new park police officers and their families. Their training has prepared them for a challenging and rewarding career – protecting our parks, historic sites, and the millions of people who visit them. They will also be relied upon for extreme weather, criminal investigations, and enforcement on New York State’s waterways and trails. They are joining a team of dedicated officers who provide a great public service to the people of New York State.”

Training for our 32 recruits consisted of classroom education in Criminal Procedure Law, Penal Law, Vehicle and Traffic Law, Park, and Recreation Law, criminal investigations, and a host of other police-related topics. In addition, the recruits received hands-on training in firearms, first response, snowmobile operation, ATV operation, emergency vehicle operation and a wide variety of other law enforcement-related topics. The new officers will begin a 10-week field training program where they will receive supervised training from senior officers, followed by assignment to patrol responsibilities.

Costanzo will be assigned to the Niagara region.

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