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U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalzation Service
Washington DC 20536

February 12, 2001

INS Names New El Centro Border Patrol Chief

EL CENTRO, Calif. – The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) announced this week the selection of Kenneth "Ken" Stitt as the new Chief Patrol Agent of the El Centro Border Patrol Sector. Stitt, who currently serves as an Assistant Chief Patrol Agent for the San Diego Border Patrol Sector, is expected to assume his duties in El Centro later this month.

"Ken Stitt brings more than 20 years of distinguished service to the job," said Mary Ann Wyrsch, Acting Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). "His expertise and leadership have been instrumental in implementing our enforcement strategy in the San Diego area and will be a tremendous asset as he takes over the helm of the El Centro Sector."

The El Centro Sector, which is responsible for patrolling more than 75 miles of international border in southeastern California, currently ranks as the second busiest Border Patrol sector in the nation. There are more than 500 Border Patrol agents assigned to the Sector, double the number of agents on duty here four years ago.

Managing growth is one of the many challenges Stitt has dealt with during his Border Patrol career. As a Patrol Agent in Charge in San Diego, Stitt played a key role in helping plan and carry out Operation Gatekeeper, the comprehensive border enforcement strategy credited with reducing Border Patrol arrests in the San Diego area to their lowest levels in more than 25 years.

"I’m looking forward to working with the personnel in the El Centro Sector," Stitt said. "One of my top priorities will be reaching out to the community to promote even better cooperation and communication between the residents of the Imperial Valley and the Border Patrol."

Stitt, 46, began his career with the Border Patrol in 1977 as an agent in what was then known as the Chula Vista Sector in San Diego. Since then, Stitt has advanced through the Sector’s ranks, holding a variety of positions, including Prosecutions Supervisor and Patrol Agent in Charge.

In 1996, Stitt was named an Assistant Chief for the San Diego Sector. In that capacity, Stitt’s duties include overseeing key sector activities ranging from field operations to procurement and personnel. Born on the East Coast, Stitt’s family moved to San Diego when he was a teenager. He and his wife Denise have a grown daughter who also lives in the San Diego area.

Stitt will serve as one of 23 Chief Patrol Agents nationwide in the largest federal uniformed law enforcement organization. The Border Patrol now numbers more than 9,300 well-trained and well-equipped officers. Together with other INS officers, the Border Patrol helps maintain borders that work—facilitating the flow of legal immigration and goods while preventing the illegal traffic of people and contraband and ensuring the safety of all those living in border communities.

Photo of Ken Stitt available electronically. Call the Western Regional Office of Media Services at (949) 360-3096.

– INS –

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