Special Agent Kenneth McCarron
United States Drug Enforcement Administration
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Special Agent Kenneth McCarron of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as the November 2001 Officer of the Month. Special Agent McCarron is currently assigned to the Miami Field Office.
Special Agent "Mac" McCarron will tell you that the most important lesson he learned from his father was to maintain a sense of pride, strength and ambition in everything you do. The elder McCarron would state, "You can't let what happened yesterday affect today." His son believed that he could best live up to these standards by committing himself to public service, in particular, in law enforcement. In 1976, after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Westfield State College, McCarron joined the Hamden County (MA) Sheriff's Department. In April 1981, armed with a newly conferred Master of Science degree, Mac McCarron left New England and accepted a position with the U.S. Capitol Police.
McCarron's war on drugs began on the streets of Washington, D.C. He witnessed first-hand the devastation that drugs played in the lives of the neighborhood children, all within view of our nation's symbol of strength and freedom. He saw what the crimes associated with the illegal drug trade was doing to the city's neighborhoods and communities. By April l985 Kenneth McCarron knew what path he would pursue and was sworn in as a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, reporting immediately to the Miami (FL) Field Division.
As an undercover agent, SA McCarron was directly responsible for significantly lowering the drug trade in the Miami area. Based on this success, in 1988 he was assigned to a special task force coordinated by the United States Army Rangers, which would infiltrate drug rings in South America and the Bahamas Islands. This unit was later recognized for being the "most aggressive and successful" for breaking up more than 30 drug labs during its four year operation. In 2000, as then Acting Resident Agent in Charge of the Freeport Regional Office, SA McCarron led his unit in drug lab raids during which more than 8,200 pounds of cocaine were seized. This amounted to the largest amount of illegal drugs seized in the Bahamas Islands by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Special Agent McCarron felt that as a DEA agent, he could and should do more for the community than just be involved in the seizure of illegal drugs. He felt that as an agent of the United States government, he represented his county to the Bahamian people. He had grown to love the people in his district and so on September 14, 1999 as Hurricane Floyd threatened the Bahamas, Mac McCarron's first thought was not to abandon the island's many residents, who had refused to adhere to the evacuation order.
In the hours leading up to the hurricane's arrival, McCarron anticipated the need for essential supplies. He secured all sensitive DEA case materials and sought higher ground, establishing a forward operating base at one of the island's few 10 story hotels where he requisitioned rooms for those in need of shelter and protection from the horrific storm. At approximately 6:00 p.m., as the Category 4 hurricane slammed into the islands, Mac received a frantic call from the airport's director who explained that twelve airport employees and one four year old child, had taken refuge in the airport's primary air traffic control tower hours earlier. Hurricane Floyd had approached the northern shore of the islands with winds in excess of 125 miles per hour accompanied by eight-foot tidal waves. Water now poured into the ground floor entrance of the tower and its support structure was giving way.
Without regard for their own personal safety, Special Agents McCarron and Rick Blais immediately drove to the airport, negotiating their way around downed trees and power lines. Using ropes and life preservers, the agents plunged into the chest-deep raging water that now surrounded the tower. They made their way through the water that was now filled with sharp objects, snakes, rats and other hazardous materials, including spilled jet fuel. The agents were ultimately able to reach the tower and safely evacuate the terrified civilians.
Thunderous applause erupted back at the hotel when those there heard about the heroic actions taken by the DEA agents. Mac's immediate supervisor, Special Agent William Harper of the DEA Miami Field Division, describes him as "totally dedicated to the mission of the DEA in every sense of the word. He has high moral character and is an all-around great guy." Among his numerous career commendations, Special Agent McCarron received a letter of commendation from The Honorable Arthur Schecter, U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas for bravery displayed in this heroic rescue.
Mac's focus continues to be children and the war on drugs. Said Richard Gallo, President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, "Mac sticks out in a crowd and makes you remember him. No matter what the risk, he is willing to do what's necessary to get the job done."