FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2008
CONTACT: Amy Graham, (850) 245-2112
Dial #DEP to Report Environmental Crimes
--DEP and Floridians team up to protect the environment--
TALLAHASSEE – Floridians now have a new tool for protecting the state’s natural resources. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that most cell phone customers in Florida can dial #DEP to report environmental crimes, including illegal dumping of hazardous materials, construction debris, oil drums and biological waste.
“#DEP helps officers respond quickly and efficiently to environmental crimes and emergencies,” said DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director Henry Barnet. “DEP’s law enforcement will now have additional eyes on the roadways and in the field to help spot and easily report major crimes against the environment.”
#DEP is an emergency line for reporting environmental crimes only. The program will allow for statewide consistency in the way Floridians, particularly motorists with cell phone only access, report environmental crimes. State Warning Point staff will answer calls and forward information to DEP law enforcement personnel or emergency responders for investigation.
Last year, DEP’s Bureau of Emergency Response responded to more than 2,100 incidents, with more than 90 percent of those referred to DEP from the State Warning Point. DEP’s Bureau of Environmental Investigations conducted almost 350 criminal investigations in 2007, resulting in 133 arrests.
To help educate and inform the public on environmental crimes as well as DEP’s law enforcement activities, the Division of Law Enforcement this week unveiled a new Web site. The site highlights the Division’s bureaus of Emergency Response, Environmental Investigations and Park Police as well as the Training Center. Now available online is emergency contact information, tips on recognizing and reporting environmental crimes, career profiles of DEP law enforcement employees and “notes from the field” spotlighting real on-the-job situations faced by DEP officers.
DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, providing law enforcement services to Florida’s state parks and greenways and trails. Division personnel investigate environmental resource crimes and illegal dredge and fill activities, and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous material incidents and oil spills that can threaten the environment.
To report environmental crime, most wireless customers can now dial #DEP. Callers can also report environmental crimes to the Environmental Crimes Hotline at the State Warning Point by calling 1 (877) 272-8335 or 1 (877) 2-SAVE-FL. General environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices during business hours.
For more information on DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/law.