News Release
Date: June 14, 2007
Contact: Michael A. Sanders
New Orleans PIO
Number: 504-840-1070

New Orleans DEA Special Agent in Charge William Renton, Jr. Receives Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award

JUN 14 -- (New Orleans, Louisiana) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today that Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William J. Renton, Jr., of the New Orleans Field Division was among four DEA employees receiving Presidential Rank Awards for 2006.

Each year, since the establishment of the Senior Executive Service (SES), the President has conferred Distinguished Executive and Meritorious Executive on a very select group of career members of the SES who have provided exceptional service to the American people over an extended period of time. These senior executives are outstanding leaders who consistently demonstrate strength, integrity and a relentless commitment to public service. Through their personal conduct and results-oriented leadership, they have earned and kept a high degree of public confidence and trust. They have demonstrated their success in balancing the needs and perspectives of customers, stakeholders, and employees with organization results. Executives from across the country are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by citizen panels, and designated by the President of the United States. The Presidential Rank Awards are prestigious and unique.

In a ceremony today at the Great Hall of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, Mr. Renton was recognized with a Meritorious Executive Rank Award, given for sustained accomplishments. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales presented the award to Mr. Renton in recognition of his leadership in the law enforcement communities in Southern Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Bill Renton, a native of the metropolitan area, has been the Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division since June 2004 and played a critical role in helping the area recover from the effects of both storms. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina’s passage, Mr. Renton established two immediate priorities; first to locate and provide assistance to DEA employees and their families and second to assist area law enforcement in the maintenance of order and the rescue of citizens stranded by wind and water. After an evaluation of the needs of DEA employees and DEA’s local law enforcement colleagues, an air bridge was established between DEA Aviation HQS in Dallas and a small airport in Gonzales, Louisiana. Command centers were established in Mandeville, Louisiana and Gulfport, Mississippi and supplies were flown into the area, transported to the forward command centers and distributed to employees and state and local law enforcement in New Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Tammany Parishes in Louisiana and the entire coastal law enforcement community in Southern Mississippi. Similar activities occurred in Western Louisiana directed by SAC Renton in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

Through the efforts of Drug Enforcement Administration personnel under the direction of SAC Renton, over 3,000 citizens of the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area were rescued from flooded properties and taken to safety. One of the most successful rescues conducted by DEA involved a three day operation at the St. Moritz Nursing Home in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans where 70 elderly and infirm patients were located. These residents were found suffering from severe dehydration and were undernourished. DEA personnel provided provisions and emergency medical care, as well as security, while being fired on by armed looters. After three days, these individuals were healthy enough to be placed in high water vehicles and transported to safety.