The Fourth of July weekend is always an eventful one in the United States and game wardens with the Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism in Kansas hit the public parks, lakes, and other areas throughout the state in an effort to maintain safety as people enjoyed their holiday.
Weather all across Kansas was extremely favorable which made for even more people hitting the outdoors than usual. Boat traffic around the state was particularly abundant as reservoirs and lakes were inundated with people taking advantage of the warm temperatures.
The Department releases an annual Game Warden Report for the July 4th holiday. The reporting period this ran from Thursday July 2rd at 7pm until Sunday July 6th at 11:59pm.
It was an eventful period this year to be sure as is usually the case during years when the holiday actually falls on a weekend as opposed to during the week. Game wardens around the state made 13 arrests for operating water vessels under the influence of alcohol.
The number of arrests for these BUI offenses has gone up slightly in each of the past few years for a few reasons. The first is that the last several July 4th holidays around Kansas have seen very favorable weather conditions for boating which means more people hit the waters and more alcohol is consumed. Another reason is that game wardens in Kansas now have certification in conducting standardized field sobriety tests and can do so while boaters suspected of intoxication are still on the water.
Despite the increase in activity during the holiday over the past few years, the new sobriety field testing standards and certifications have managed to keep the waters around the state safer as evidenced by the increase in arrests for BUI.
Wardens also recovered the body of an 18-year-old drowning victim, investigated two boating accidents to completion, and one of the state’s game warden K9 units located a person who had sent out a distress call and needed assistance.