The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation employs about 330 officers. Women, like Mary Grose ’02, make up a small percentage of this force.
In her own academy, from which she recently graduated to become DEC’s first female marine enforcement officer, roughly five percent of the class were women.
“It has been a great honor to be the first, and my coworkers have been like family. We all support and protect each other,” Grose said. “I am a strong advocate of encouraging all women to pursue their dreams – that anything is possible with passion and determination. Every day I am proud to serve the public and want to make a difference.”
Grose’s road to her new job began with a 27-week paramilitary training program in Pulaski, N.Y.
“It was physically and mentally demanding. We studied environmental conservation law, penal law and criminal procedure law,” said Grose, who majored in biology at Union. “Classes also consisted of firearms training, an emergency vehicles operator’s course, and defensive tactics.”
After graduating in September 2016, she also completed a 3-week training that made her the first woman in the DEC to become a SAFE (Secure All-around Floatation Equipped) boat captain.
Now she’s based in DEC’s Region 5, which consists of all five New York City boroughs. As a sworn police officer, and specifically a marine officer, she has a diverse job description.
“I patrol all of the land and waterways around the city. We inspect commercial and recreational fishermen for compliance with the fishing seasons and possession limits,” Grose explained. “The marine unit also works on land and investigates dealers and markets for illegal species, sizes and proper documentation.”
“Patrolling one of the busiest harbors in the world is exciting, and also a challenge,” she added. “Every day is a new experience, and as a police officer, you need to be physically and mentally prepared for the unexpected,” she added.
Previously, Grose worked in DEC’s central office in Albany, for the Division of Lands and Forests.
“I’ve had a passion for the environment ever since I can remember,” she said. “I love New York and the DEC has allowed me to pursue both of my interests and work for the state, its people and natural resources.”
Before joining DEC in Albany in 2014, Grose spent 10 years with Harley-Davidson. She learned a great deal there and was able to pursue another passion of hers – motorcycles.