Texas Game Warden wins national award for boating enforcement

A good guy and friend of LSON has been awarded a national award for his work in boating law enforcement.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden John Thorne has been named Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

Thorne received the honor at the organization’s 55th annual conference, held this year in Bar Harbor, ME.

NASBLA established its Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year program in 2000 to acknowledge the nation’s outstanding marine enforcement officers. Sponsored by Revere Supplies, the award is presented at three levels — state, regional and national. This year, 43 officers across the country were nominated for the national award.

In conferring the honor, NASBLA noted that Thorne is the “go to guy” with TPWD when it comes to boating while intoxicated/boating under the influence enforcement. He is also one of the agency’s few trained drug recognition experts.

Thorne has filed or been directly involved in the filing of some 80 BWI/BUI cases during his 12-year career with the state. Last summer, he and a less-tenured warden filed five BWIs in a single day.

“Not only is Warden Thorne a master at identifying and arresting BWI violators, he can clearly and convincingly articulate the facts of the case,” says Cody Jones, TPWD’s Boating Law Administrator Cody Jones. “His professionalism in handling these cases has resulted in an amazingly high conviction rate.”

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Thorne worked with local prosecutors to implement and streamline a protocol for issuing search warrants for blood on those who refuse to provide a specimen. During the summer of 2013, he created an easy-to-understand guide to aid officers in BWI/BUI enforcement. With guidelines and examples of properly prepared paperwork, the guide provides officers with something to double-check during arrests.

Each summer, Thorne coordinates water safety saturation patrols on Cedar Creek Lake, a water body covering 33,000 acres and surrounded by 14 heavily populated municipalities. He also patrols the lake every weekend during the warmer months. Jones said that these efforts have been particularly effective in preventing accidents and removing intoxicated operators from the lake.

“John’s dedication and enthusiasm is contagious to other wardens who patrol with him and learn from his efforts and examples,” said Jones.