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Patrolling the Water

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: February 1999 Pages: 71-74
L M DeFranco
Date Published
4 pages
Water police officers serve a special population, boaters and nautical enthusiasts, and their efforts typically concentrate on education and rescue rather than on ticket writing and arrests.
Ohio residents have expressed their support for water police officers. In particular, boaters feel more comfortable when they see more water police officers around. The Ohio Division of Watercraft has implemented a plan to increase water police officer visibility and effectiveness. A key goal of this plan is to make official boats, watercraft, vehicles, and uniforms more visible. Another goal is to provide customer-oriented education and service. In many jurisdictions, water police officer units use personal watercraft (PWCs) in addition to boats for patrol and rescue operations. The smaller PWCs are particularly beneficial in rescue operations; because they use jet drives rather than propellers, they can enter shallow areas. In Bradenton, Florida, for example, the police department's part- time marine unit cross-trains for rescue operations with the local fire department using PWCs. One of the primary responsibilities of water police officers in Minnesota involves education, the objective being to reduce water-related accidents. 4 photographs