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MOREHEAD CITY – Col. Rex Lanier knows that Marine Patrol officers are the frontline representatives for the Division of Marine Fisheries.

He has more than 20 years experience in fisheries law enforcement to back up that knowledge.

“We’re the only section that wears a uniform,” Lanier said. “We drive marked vehicles so we get a lot of questions thrown our way.”

That’s why Lanier, 43, has made expanding officer’s involvement in public education one of his top goals as the new head of Marine Patrol.

Lanier officially took charge of Marine Patrol today at a pinning ceremony at the Division of Marine Fisheries headquarters in Morehead City. Fisheries Director Louis Daniel presented Lanier with the eagle wings of a colonel.

“His vision for the Marine Patrol and his desire to expand public awareness and education on the mission of the Marine Patrol will be a great asset to the division and the department,” Daniel said.

Lanier began his career with Marine Patrol in 1987 as a field officer working the Sneads Ferry area. He worked his way up through the ranks, attaining a promotion to sergeant in 1995 and to lieutenant in 1998. Since August 2003, he has served as captain of Marine Patrol’s Southern District, overseeing field operations and planning in Onslow, Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

Prior to joining Marine Patrol, he worked for two years with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department.

A lifetime resident of Onslow County, and the son of two Onslow County Sheriff’s deputies, Lanier knew at a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. He chose fisheries law enforcement after he and his father were on a shrimp boat one time and got checked by Marine Patrol officers.

“I thought it would be a neat job,” Lanier said.

He set a career goal for himself to become a captain, a goal he has now surpassed.

“A better door opened,” Lanier said.

--More --

Lanier replaces Col. Joe Lynch, who retired from the position March 31.

He holds an Advanced N.C. Law Enforcement Certificate, Field Training Officer Certificate and is a graduate of the N.C. Law Enforcement Training Instructor’s Course. He is also a graduate of the Certified Public Manager Program and the Law Enforcement Management Institute.

Lanier lives in Jacksonville with his wife, Charlene, and daughters Caitlin, 13, and Cally, 10.


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