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USDA Forest Service Announces new Law Enforcement Director

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WASHINGTON, July 20, 2005 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth today selected John Twiss to head the agency’s law enforcement and investigations branch.

"John has demonstrated strong leadership and managerial skills while serving many years as a forest supervisor as well as from managing a national program," said Bosworth. "Those experiences will serve him well in his new assignment with responsibilities for managing the national law enforcement program and organization."

As director of law enforcement and investigations, Twiss will lead an organization of more than 600 law enforcement officers and special agents assigned to Forest Service offices throughout the country. The law enforcement and investigations program is charged with the protection of people and natural resources on some 193 million acres of National Forest System land visited by hundreds of millions of people each year. Forest Service law enforcement officers and agents respond to some 200,000 incidents in any given year encompassing a wide range of criminal and non-criminal activity, including drug trafficking, eco-terrorism, archeological resource theft and search and rescue operations.

"I am honored and excited about joining the law enforcement and investigations organization," said Twiss. "I believe that our law enforcement personnel are some of the hardest working and most professional people in our agency. They do a difficult job very well and I look forward to being part of that team."

Twiss served as forest supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota since 1995. In 2004, he joined the national headquarters to work on several special assignments for the chief. Prior to his position on the Black Hills, he was the agency's national wilderness program coordinator in Washington, D.C. He has also served in district ranger assignments in Idaho and Oregon and as a deputy forest supervisor on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

He also served for eight years on the Forest Service's Large Group Oversight Team, which advises the chief on large group gatherings on national forests, such as the annual Rainbow Family gathering.

Twiss received a bachelor's in forest management from Oregon State University in 1973 following military service. He began his career as a seasonal employee in Yellowstone National Park and was a smokejumper for the Forest Service for nine years in Redmond, Ore. Twiss was recently selected as a member of the federal government's senior executive service.

Twiss' new assignment is effective July 24.