New Lake Patrol Officer - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/04/07 - Lake Nacogdoches

New Lake Patrol Officer

by Donna McCollum

Until recently Lake Nacogdoches has been without lake patrol. The city provided it once, but justifying a full time lake officer and keeping part timers certified for water patrol was always a challenge.   There's now someone on duty who should be a natural for the job.

" Hi, I'm David Smith," said the newest member to the Nacogdoches Police Department. Visitors to Lake Nacogdoches are getting to know Smith's face as he eagerly introduces himself to boaters.    

Officer Smith is just what Lake Nacogdoches is needing. He's a retired game warden, fully certified in marine safety enforcement. Smith said,  " And that's basically so you know the regulations covering boating safety that they don't cover in a regular police academy. " Few police officer applicants wanted a part time job and it was difficult sending officers to a 40 hour certification program. Luckily, Smith prefers a part time job. He'll spend mostly weekends looking after everyone's safety.  

Smith returns to his native East Texas. He lives close enough he can answer a lake emergency in just minutes. And he makes sure everyone follows state boating regulations. Officer Smith will also be checking fishing boats. He says, "You can't take that kind of enforcement out of a former game warden."

Smith explained, " Mostly the purpose of checking other boats I want to see how they're operating and I want to see if they're operating in a safe manner."   As he pulls up to a family boating he explained,  " I look for kids not wearing life jackets. We have any age restriction. If they're under 13 they have to wear a life jacket."

All for everybody's good. A young boater knows this police officer is a new friend.  A. J. Dejean, a youth boater said, " They're nice to people. They help us and they arrest people for doing bad stuff. " Smith is glad to respond, " So far, everybody I've approached has welcomed me and glad to see me and it makes me look forward to the job." And why not. He courteous, knows the rules and wants everyone to have fun.

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