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Deputies Take To Lakes To Learn Accident Investigation

copsboatOver the last three days, boat deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Parks Bureau has been participating in an Advanced Accident Investigation Course. The course was presented by members of the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

“There were 11 recreational boating accidents in 2010 and 2011 on Castaic and Pyramid Lakes which are patrolled by Parks Bureau Boat Deputies,” said Captain Stephen Smith, Commander of Parks Bureau. “If we are able to see how the accidents are happening, this will assist us in educating the public. Furthermore, with the knowledge gained from the course, we will be more effective in addressing the enforcement of boating laws.”


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A major component of the Investigation Course includes elements of physical reconstruction, evidence identification and processing, kinetic energy, purpose and uses of a CAD system, actual vessel collisions and examinations, operational law violation elements in criminal cases and a mock trial.

bentboatA few boats (including the one pictured at right) that were involved in fatal accidents throughout California were brought to the class for training purposes.

In 2011 Boat Deputies contacted over 7000 boaters for law enforcement reasons, accidents, rescue activity, disabled vessels, medical aid, and boating fatalities on Pyramid and Castaic lakes.

Throughout the year, a proactive and highly visible approach to lake enforcement is a key component in making the lake adventures safe for the public as well as the individuals responsible for operating the lakes. A noticeable law enforcement presence is placed at the entrances of both lakes. This allows for vessel safety inspections and early identification of potential problems. The numerous contacts we make results in hundreds of safety violations being addressed and corrected by the responsible parties; thereby preventing accidents and/or injuries.

During the boating season, the Parks Bureau Boating Enforcement Unit conducts several Boating Under the Influence operations at both Pyramid and Castaic Lakes in an effort to prevent accidents and deaths.

The Parks Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is dedicated to providing a safe and drug free environment at Castaic Lake, Pyramid Lake, and at all Los Angeles County parks.