Keeping the Waters Safe

Law enforcement troops are covering all the bases to keep the holiday safe and some of those bases are out in the water.

As revelers head for area lakes, they'll see the authorities on hand and the authorities were busy at Wehrspann Lake on Friday.

Sarpy County Sheriff's investigator Darin Morrissey said, "Fourth of July holiday -- we want to make sure people are safe."

The sheriff's office has a greater presence out on the water this year.

Cpl. Rob Hillabrand says, "After last year's boating fatalities on Hanson Lake, we received a grant that supports going out on holidays and stepping up enforcement on the lakes to avoid a future tragedy."

That tragedy happened almost a year ago at in the southern part of Sarpy County. Kenneth Tonn pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the boat he was driving hit and killed David and Kathleen Gilfillan.

Hillabrand says, "It's made people more aware and more cooperative to what we're trying to do."

Authorities say it was important to get out on Independence Day to reach some of the people who are not regulars on the lake.

Morrissey says they're not just checking for life jackets.

"We've kicked boats off the lake before," he says. "We've issued citations. We have a zero tolerance on life vests."

Sarpy County investigators say Friday's effort was a first for them. They had 30 contacts with boaters at Wehrspann Lake and Walnut Creek and everyone was in compliance with the boating laws.


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