Texas Boating Officer of the Year Named

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AUSTIN, Texas — At the May 27 Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting, the Texas "State Boating Law Enforcement Officer of The Year" award was given to TPWD Game Warden Bill Blackburn of Llano County.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is comprised of 50 U.S. States and the U.S. Territories and was created to achieve uniformity in boating laws from state to state and encourage enjoyment of the waters for all boaters. Each year NASBLA recognizes an enforcement officer from each state as the "State Boating Law Enforcement Officer of The Year."

"We developed the program as a way to recognize officers that go above and beyond their duties as marine patrol officers," said Kim Hermes with NASBLA, who administers the program out of Lexington, Ky.

Blackburn is a 31-year veteran Game Warden with TPWD and "has been an outstanding water safety enforcement officer," said Executive Director Robert Cook during the presentation. Blackburn is stationed in Llano County and has enforcement responsibility on the Highland Lakes chain which has some of the highest boating volume lakes in Texas.

He assisted in setting up Boating-While-Intoxicated Task Force operations on the Highland Lakes involving local law enforcement and game wardens from that area. As a certified intoxiliyzer operator and trained in field sobriety, Blackburn began to research methods for instruction of law enforcement officers in these techniques. He assisted in a hands-on training designed to empower other game wardens and other agency officers to perform at a high level of self-confidence and assure that they do it correctly. First-year results contributed to an increase in BWI cases in his District.

He was presented a pin and a certificate at the TPW Commission meeting Thursday. Blackburn’s family and six wardens from his region attended the commission meeting with him where he accepted his award.