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Lake Lanier DNR officer wins national award

GAINESVILLE — When announced recently as the national boating officer of the year, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Cpl. Jason Roberson said it’s his family that ought to see some of the spotlight.

“They’re the ones that sacrifice for me to be able to do what I love to do,” said Roberson, a Dawson County resident who patrols Lake Lanier. “They’re the ones that have to put up with daddy being at work. They’re the ones that are forgotten about.”

Roberson’s supportive family cheered him on as he was named the officer of the year by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators last week.

“There’s a number of people that I work with that are just as deserving as I am,” Roberson said. “It’s a very humbling experience and just honored to be considered for it.”

Roberson was named the top boating officer in Georgia back in February and later was made a national finalist following an award by the regional boating association.

“I can’t think of a more deserving officer to receive this prestigious award,” said DNR Law Enforcement Director Col. Eddie Henderson in a news release. “When Jason is in the boat, he is the best of the best when it comes to boating enforcement.”

Lanier has served as Roberson’s patrol area, working with DNR for the past 15 years.

Of utmost importance, he said, has been making sure motorists and boat operators that are under the influence of drugs and alcohol are removed.

“Getting those impaired operators off the waters and off the highways is probably one of the most important things we can do,” he said.

In 2014, Roberson conducted 15 search-and-rescue missions, including the double-body recovery of two Dawson County men in an icy cove on Lake Lanier.

“It’s something that brings closure to a grieving family, and that’s always important,” Roberson said.