Charleston, SC - October 5, 2018
Law enforcement personnel have been working tirelessly along coastal Carolina as the floodwaters from Hurricane Florence continue to invade homes and property. Officer Randy Hering with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division knows this all to well as he and his fellow officers have worked around the clock conducting rescues, patrolling flooded areas, and assisting state and federal agencies to secure threatened areas along the Pee Dee River basin in Horry and Georgetown Counties.
Officer Hering was given a brief reprieve from working the flooded area as he received the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award during the Council’s meeting this week in Charleston, SC. The award, established by the Council in 2010, recognizes distinctive service, professionalism, and dedication to enforcing fisheries regulations in the South Atlantic. Nominees for the annual award may be submitted from each of the southeastern state law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA Fisheries.
“This year’s award is especially timely,” said Council Chair Jessica McCawley. “It is truly an honor to present this award to Officer Hering during our meeting here in South Carolina, and to have the opportunity to reflect on the work and dedication of enforcement personnel throughout the region during times of natural disasters.”
In addition to his willingness to work long hours when needed, Officer Hering is known for his positive working relationship with the commercial fishing industry and knowledge of federal fishing regulations. He works closely with federal enforcement efforts through the Joint Enforcement Agreement and has assisted in joint investigations resulting in 11 Federal Fisheries cases. One such case involved Officer Hering working a commercial offload in Georgetown, SC where he discovered the fisherman was over his legal limit of Cobia and operating without a commercial license, resulting in $3243.00 of product being seized. Other cases have involved illegal possession of undersized sharks, possession of grouper during the spawning season closure, and a dockside patrol that resulted in a federal charge for an undersize blue marlin and failure to possess a recreational permit for Highly Migratory Species.
“Officer Hering shows compassion and understanding while enforcing fisheries regulations,” said Kevin Mitchell, Field Officer with NOAA Fisheries Enforcement. “He has developed a rapport with fishermen in the area, is extremely knowledgeable about federal fisheries regulations, and is proficient at enforcing these regulations.” Mitchell noted Officer Hering’s willingness to go the extra mile in working cases, often driving long hours to assist when needed, and collecting evidence such as fish fillets for DNA testing for successful prosecution.
In his four years as a conservation officer, Hering has become the “go to guy” for questions regarding federal regulations for both commercial and recreational fisheries and is known for sharing his knowledge with other officers. “Randy has been instrumental in the last year with training of new officers in all aspects of federal fisheries enforcement including navigating offshore, boarding shrimp trawlers, and fish identification,” explained Sgt. Ryan Williams with SCDNR Law Enforcement.
“Randy Hering is an outstanding officer and very deserving of recognition. He is quick to learn and always willing to go the extra mile,” said Captain Henry Stackhouse with SDCNR Law Enforcement and in attendance at the Law Enforcement of the Year presentation. “It is a joy to have an officer this young acknowledged for his work and we are honored on behalf of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division to be here today.”
“I love my job and enjoy working the various aspects of being a law enforcement officer with SCDNR,” said Officer Hering after receiving the award. “This award means more to me than I can put into words, but I couldn’t do my job without the help and guidance of my fellow officers. We all share in this honor.”
Officer Hering lives in Georgetown, SC with his wife Taylor, daughter Harper, another baby on the way, and two Golden Retrievers - Dillon and Dayne.