Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Officers Participate in Water Survival Training

By Melissa Warren | 

GLASGOW, Ky. (WBKO) -- Those who don't hunt or fish may not be familiar with these officers, but they say if you plan on spending time at a lake this summer, you're likely to see them.

"Our job is to enforce the laws pertaining to hunting, fishing and boating, but we are charged to enforce all the laws of the Commonwealth," said Ky. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Brett Zalla.

Lt. Zalla says Fish and Wildlife officers spend half of the year on the water, and while it wasn't a lake, that's where you could find them today, at the Barren County YMCA pool for water survival training.

"Anytime you're on the water, there's always a threat of going in the water, whether it's accidentally or with a suspect, so this teaches us different things... like life saving techniques, whether it's saving a suspect, saving a victim, or saving ourselves. It also teaches us defensive tactics techniques," said Lt. Zalla.

One of their final exercises Thursday combined those techniques.
"One of the officers got hurt and ended up in the water, so the officer on the boat has to control the subject he's dealing with, and once that subject is controlled, he has to save the partner so to speak," said Ky. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Richard Adkins.

They meticulously ran through the exercises over and over.

"It's really really physically demanding, so it might look fun to be in the pool, but it's really taxing on the officers," said Lt. Adkins.

"The water training itself is very physically demanding. As you can tell we're in shirts, duty belts to simulate the weight of a real gun belt. We're wearing our pants along with our tennis shoes like we would be wearing if we were working on the lake," said Lt. Zalla.

Zalla says the situations they trained for here this week could also mean the difference in life and death. He says in addition to the training and refresher courses like today's, every Ky. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife recruit must endure one week of water survival training before becoming an officer.

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