News Release 105

Terry Ball named April 2011 Employee of the Month by Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Volume 39-105 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, April 20, 2011 --- Terry Ball, an Environmental Investigation Manager with the Department of Natural Resources' Division of Environmental Quality, has been selected as the April 2011 Employee of the Month. Ball was selected for his tenacious pursuit of an environmental polluter who had left the state.

Ball normally works environmental investigations in eastern Missouri. At the request of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, he was appointed a special process server in order to deliver a legal notice to the operator of a defunct business in the St. Louis area which was allegedly responsible for environmental damages there. Ball was dispatched on a holiday weekend to Del City, Okla., where the alleged violator had moved.

After a seven-hour drive, Ball arrived at the suspect's house and spoke with an unknown female leaving the residence who said the suspect was not at home. Ball remained at the residence to stake out the home. Later, a car driven by a male who matched the description of the suspect was observed leaving the house. Ball followed, but lost the vehicle so he returned to the residence to resume his surveillance. Ball noticed a vehicle similar to the one seen leaving the home pass his vehicle twice. More than one hour later, Ball heard two shots from an air rifle fired toward Ball's vehicle. The window and side of Ball's vehicle were struck by pellets. Ball contacted the local police department and they dispatched a patrol car. No shooter was identified. Again, attempts to contact the resident inside the house were unsuccessful.

The next day, Ball was interviewing a possible employer of the individual, when the suspect entered the parking lot and attempted to depart via a tractor trailer on the property. Ball raced across the lot to stop the suspect before he left the parking lot. The man ultimately accepted the legal service and agreed to a two-hour interview. With the paperwork served, Ball returned to Jefferson City.

"Terry's commitment to giving his all to finish a job goes above and beyond all normal expectations," said Paul Jeffery, the regional office coordinator who nominated Ball for the award.

Environmental investigators work on complex cases that may involve either civil or criminal violations and require more time and expertise to develop than typical investigations. Their work is often initiated through tips or existing cases from department staff or outside agencies. Ball most frequently works with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in St. Louis. Ball and the CID office, in turn, often coordinate with other federal agencies such as the FBI, Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The interagency coordination between Missouri agencies such as Natural Resources, Attorney General’s Office, State Highway Patrol and Department of Revenue is augmented by the federal agencies. This level of cooperation is critical to recovering environmental damages on behalf of the citizens of Missouri. In the last two years alone, Ball has investigated multiple cases on behalf of the federal Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Clean Water Act.

Ball joined the Department of Natural Resources in 2002 and resides in Jefferson City.

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Editor: Photos are available at http://dnr.mo.gov/newsrel/images/ball-4-11.jpg