CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) – Indiana DNR conservation officers are already busy keeping drugs out of state parks and children safe in the water this season.

Officer Jim Hash said they were called out several times over the Memorial Day weekend for ATV accidents, missing kayakers, suspicious activity and much more. And he says officers continue to be busy.

“When the warmer weather hits, more people go out to enjoy recreation,” Hash said.

Water rescues, boating while intoxicated incidents and drownings tend to spike during warmer weather. Officers across the state are prepared for everything.

“All of the officers on our department are trained in swift water safety techniques,” said Hash.

Last year, according to the 2017 Drowning Prevention Report, 114 people drowned in Indiana. Hash said those were preventable deaths, and the number is on the rise from years before.

The report is a compilation of data from the past 10 years. DNR, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Department of Child Services and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security teamed up to create this report. The goal is to provide information for families to have educational discussions at home about water safety and drowning prevention.

Officer Hash stressed that everyone needs to use common sense every time you are near or on the water, and never leave a child alone near the water.

“A life jacked is good to have in your boat,” Hash said. “But it’s not going to save you unless it’s worm properly and is of the right size.”

The water isn’t their only concern this season. Conservation officers often work along patrolling remote areas, and they encounter just about everything from drug use, alcohol use and multiple accidents with ATVs, according to Hash.

Conservation officers recently posted on the DNR Facebook page two examples of drug arrests. According to the posts, officers on patrol found two men and an unconscious woman near a truck parked on a railroad bridge over Silver Creek. All three were arrested on drug charges.

In another post, officers on a late-night fishing check along the Ohio River charged two men with possession of cocaine and marijuana.

“We’ve had several incidents this year of officers either checking fishermen or boaters, and they end up making arrests for drugs and illegal possession of firearms,” said Hash.

The clear-cut message from DNR as you make your summer plans, from the woods to the water, use common sense and don’t break the law.

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