To Serve and Protect the Pine Barrens: Three New Enforcement Officers

Central Pine Barrens Commission Adds Officers with Combined 95 Years Of Law Enforcement Experience to Crack Down on Illegal Activities

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From left, new compliance and enforcement officers Michael Lewis, James Mazzio and Timothy Huss in the Central Pine Barrens in Westhampton.

Photo by: Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission

Long Island, NY – March 31, 2017 – The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission has hired three part-time compliance and enforcement coordinators with a combined 95 years of law enforcement experience to dramatically increase oversight over illegal activities in the Central Pine Barrens region, which spans portions of the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton.
The new coordinators, who will replace a single part-time coordinator who recently retired, will be charged with facilitating the work of and aiding and bolstering the several dozen agencies that have law enforcement, code enforcement and compliance jurisdiction within the Central Pine Barrens region. The new unit is led by Timothy Huss, who served 40 years for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Law Enforcement, retiring as a Major overseeing the Southern District of New York State. The other coordinators are Michael Lewis, a retired New York State Police Troop L Zone Sergeant, and James Mazzio, a retired Southampton Town Police Detective. The two officers have, respectively, 28 and 27 years of law enforcement experience.
“Having the enhanced ‘eyes and ears’ on the region that will be provided by these experienced officers will help facilitate more expeditious detection and resolution of violations perpetrated in the Central Pine Barrens region,” said Central Pine Barrens Commission Executive Director John Pavacic. “We feel their presence will send a loud and clear message to those operating ATVs illegally in the Central Pine Barrens, dumping solid waste, or committing other violations, and that message is that such actions will not be tolerated.”
In addition to their work supporting and aiding enforcement of illegal non-land use activities, such as illegal ATV use, the three enforcement coordinators will help synchronize, support and assist the Central Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council, which is comprised of federal, state, county, town and village police officers, as well as investigators and the environmental protection and planning divisions of the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton, in the enforcement of land use-related violations of the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act.
“Illegal dumping is a growing problem in the Central Pine Barrens that we must put a stop to now,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. “Hiring these experienced officers, along with strict enforcement and prosecution of those responsible for crimes against the environment, will certainly make anyone think twice before they act.”
“These new hires take the enforcement side of the Pine Barrens Commission to a whole new level,” said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “It not only allows us to have routine enforcement, but it also enables us to be proactive in the protection of the Pine Barrens.”
“These three enforcement officers will provide a high level of oversight, ensuring that this delicate natural system is not subject to abuse,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission was established by the New York State Legislature to protect and preserve drinking water and other natural resources in the Central Pine Barrens region.  In addition to its regional land use planning, land preservation and regulatory functions, the Commission supports relevant scientific research and oversees the work of three committees which aid the Commission, the Protected Lands Council, Law Enforcement Council and Wildfire Task Force, and also manages a Compliance and Enforcement Division, an Education and Outreach Division, and the Pine Barrens Credit Transfer of Development Rights Program.