Chase to lead ATF Denver field division
DENVER ” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan formally introduced Richard Chase on Monday as the first full-time special agent in charge of its new Denver field division.
Chase has been on the ground about two weeks, having previously served as assistant director for the Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations in Washington.
The move returns him to the West to head the Denver field division, which comprises 15 offices in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.
Chase started his career as a field agent in Denver, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana and is a former resident agent in charge for the Helena and Billings field offices in Montana.
“It’s a blessing in disguise,” Chase said.
Sullivan said U.S. attorneys and ATF special agents in charge had pushed for the new Denver field division, which opened in December. Previously, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado were under the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division while Montana was under the St. Paul (Minn.) Field Division.
The reorganization is expected to help step up efforts to combat gangs and violent crime.
U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, based in Denver, said he has seen a “tremendous” increase in attention and resources.
Though there is work to be done to combat gangs, federal sentences for felons in possession of weapons have helped keep some gang members off the streets, and most of those cases are handled by ATF, he said.
Four ATF agents have been assigned to Greeley to help solve gang problems there, and there is an agent in Grand Junction. Eid said his challenge is keeping up with prosecutions on work ATF has done.
The Denver Field Division is responsible for more than 3,800 federal firearms licensees and nearly 800 explosives licensees and permittees in ATF’s role in regulating those industries.
Chase said ATF will take a support role during the Democratic National Convention in August, with intelligence agents in the field, explosives enforcement, canine teams and databases available. ATF has databases on explosives, firearms tracing and internal cases to help track crime patterns around the country.
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