Beginning this weekend, Gwinnett County police officers will join DNR rangers to patrol Lake Lanier with a special emphasis on cracking down on drunken boaters.
The DNR currently is only able to staff two-to-three patrol boats with four-to-six rangers. The officers will allow that number to increase to five boats with ten law enforcement professionals.
The partnership comes following the tragic death of two young brothers from Buford. Jake and Griffin Prince died on Lake Lanier when another boater collided with their pontoon last week. Police accuse the driver of the other boat, Paul Bennett, of boating drunk.
The new partnership will primarily be used on holiday weekends when lake traffic increases. Officers will participate on a volunteer basis.
"It's not going to take away from the car I have on the street patrolling now. It's just going to help the DNR and help us have the presence we haven't had before," explained Major Dan Branch with the Gwinnett County Police Department.
The officers will focus mostly on the Gwinnett side of the lake but have the authority to go where needed.
Boaters told CBSAtlanta they welcome the increased police presence but thought more still needed to be done, especially at night.
"I've seen boats going really fast in blinding conditions," said Doug Flagg, a frequent fisherman on Lake Lanier.
Lake Lanier draws 7.5 million visitors annually.
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