On January 10, 2019, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order transferring the Environmental Crimes Unit from FWC to DEP to align resources focused on environmental protection and to ensure strong enforcement of Florida’s environmental laws. With this transfer, the Division of Law Enforcement was created and went into effect July 1, 2019. The Division of Law Enforcement consists of the Environmental Crimes Unit and the Office of Emergency Response.
The Division is responsible for enforcing the environmental laws and responding to incidents where environmental impacts are reported or discovered. The Environmental Crimes Unit ensures compliance of the environmental laws through inspections and enforcement. The Unit works in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Response who provides technical and on-site assistance to ensure threats to the environment and human safety are quickly and effectively addressed. Division Responder staff respond to incidents involving petroleum spills caused by vehicle accidents to chemical plant explosions to coastal oil spills.
In addition, the Division works with local public safety officials and emergency response contractors to minimize threats to the environment.
Meet the Director
Mary Alice McElheney, Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Response
Since 2013, Mary Alice has contributed to the success of DEP’s Regulatory programs as the Executive Staff Director. She played an integral role in DEP’s response during hurricanes, including the activations for hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, Irma, Michael, and most recently, Dorian. Mary Alice took the lead on transitioning the Division of Law Enforcement and environmental crimes back to DEP. Mary Alice earned her Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration from Auburn University and a Master's degree in Administration from the University of West Florida. Prior to her time at DEP, Mary Alice worked at both the Executive Office of the Governor and the Florida Senate.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.