For Immediate Release
ATF Washington Field Division Announces Establishment of Newport News Satellite Office
WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Washington Field Division today announced the establishment of its Newport News Satellite Office, giving ATF a permanent presence on the Hampton Roads Peninsula.
Prior to the Newport News office opening, the ATF Norfolk Field Office was responsible for ATF law enforcement response on both “the Peninsula” as well as “the south side” of Hampton Roads, an area that covers approximately 2,600 miles, divided by water.
“While our Norfolk Field Office did an outstanding job allocating resources where and when needed, the one aspect we couldn’t control was the challenge of providing a timely response across two separate and distinct areas – each with high levels of firearm and violent crime,” said ATF Washington Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict. “We have now taken an important step to increase our effectiveness, with enforcement groups on both sides of the river.”
“A significant part of this re-investment effort lies with the brave women and men of the ATF,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “They have an organizational motto of “No better partner”. And they live that motto every day. This announcement is proof positive of their commitment to this community, and commitment to being great partners with the law enforcement leaders standing with me today.”
Local law enforcement officials also expressed support for an ATF presence on the Peninsula.
“Drugs, gangs and guns are a very serious problem in Newport News,” said Howard E. Gwynn, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Newport News. “The presence of ATF in our city will be a most welcome addition to our efforts to keep our citizens safe.”
“I welcome the increased presence and partnership with the ATF to assist us in combating gun violence in our city,” said Anton A. Bell, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Hampton. “Their resources and expertise will be a great asset in improving the overall health and safety of our community.”
“We are looking forward to having an ATF branch right here in Newport News, not only for convenience, but to enhance the already positive relationship we have with our federal partners,” said Steve Drew, Newport News Chief of Police.
“This is a huge step forward in our strategy to address violent crime on the Peninsula and in Hampton,” said Terry Sult, Chief of Hampton Police Division. “It provides for additional resources and enhances considerably current initiatives working to protect our citizens.”
In addition to ATF special agents, the Newport News facility will house a task force consisting of officers from the Newport News Police Department, the Hampton Police Division, and the Newport News Sheriff’s Office.
The Newport News Satellite Office task force will be focused on three areas paramount to public safety: criminal possession and use of firearms, illegal firearms trafficking, and criminal groups and gangs.
“With assistance from our local, state and federal partners, the Newport News Satellite Office expects to make an immediate and consequential impact toward crime reduction on the Peninsula,” Benedict added.