Conservation Officers Take Part in Tactical Operator's Course

Published 06/26 2014 06:18PM

Updated 06/26 2014 06:25PM

Conservation officers from across the Tri-State are in Mount Vernon this week, learning how to keep the waters safe. The Ohio River is full of boats and barges, and conservation officers have to watch all of them. This week, they're training to make sure Tri-State waters don't become full of danger.

In the vast waters, no danger is too big, or too small.

"It wouldn't take much of some type of incident to close this port, which would really shut down the economy in this area, and further downstream and upstream as well," says Lt. Kenton Turner, Indiana Conservation Officer. These conservation officers are learning how to stop dangerous situations on the Ohio River, training their boat handling and situation handling wherever they are, such as in Mount Vernon, near the 8th largest inland port in the country.

"We could have any type of hurricane, or flooding, or anything in the country, because these officers can be deployed anywhere in the country," Turner says.

"It's basically like a football team, where all the players are playing on the same playbook," adds boating law instructor Jay Chesser says they're trained in the same tactics the Coast Guard uses, like vehicle interception.  Chesser says it even if they're not called to major emergencies, it improves their confidence.

"It's very, very gratifying to watch the officers from day one, and see where their skill level is, and by day two, it's increased. And we're almost complete and these guys, it's quadrupled," he says. "Their confidence level and their boat operating levels."

The training was one of four sessions going on along the Ohio River, with a fifth taking place on Lake Michigan.

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