NOAA 99-123
Contact: Gordon Helm


National Marine Fisheries Service director Penny Dalton has selected Hagerstown, Md., Chief of Police Dale J. Jones to lead the agency's office for law enforcement, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today. The agency enforces the management and protection of living marine resources over 3.4 million square miles of United States federal waters.

"Chief Jones brings to the agency both a wide range of enforcement experience and a fresh perspective to help our agents and officers improve their work with fishermen and coastal communities," said Dalton. "His approach toward community- oriented policing and problem solving and his expertise in the use of technology and investigations is expected to improve our efforts in these areas."

Jones' appointment takes effect on May 24,1999.

As chief of police in Hagerstown, Jones supervised a police department that emphasizes methods of patrolling and investigation based on strong community and neighborhood activities. Under his direction, the department also operated the Western Maryland crime lab and police academy, and participated in regional and federal drug enforcement activities.

"I am looking forward to this opportunity to use my management and enforcement skills working within a team environment to improve service delivery," said Jones. "Throughout my career, I have developed constructive solutions for positive change in strategic planning, use of technology to improve accreditation, and improving organizational values."

Jones replaces David McKinney, who now heads the newly formed Protected Resources Enforcement Team charged with improving enforcement of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and promoting community involvement to protect and conserve living marine resources throughout the Gulf of Mexico McKinney was instrumental in recognizing the need for specialized enforcement teams and securing the funds to develop and deploy themHe also led the efforts of the office for enforcement to become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies When the accreditation process is completed, NOAA Fisheries will be the first federal law enforcement office to receive such recognition of its professionalism

The NOAA Fisheries office of enforcement, consisting of 100 special agents and 35 uniformed enforcement officers, along with 31 technical and support staff, enforces laws that ensure ecosystem protection and conservation for most of the United States' living marine resources The office handled 2,055 individual fisheries and marine animal cases in 1998. There are five regional division offices, each headed by a special agent in charge, co-located with NOAA Fisheries' regional management centers.