FRANKFORT, Ky. – The last serving member of the former Kentucky Water Patrol has retired.
Wayne County resident Tim Catron, who retired Dec. 31, started his career with the Kentucky Water Patrol and finished it as a law enforcement captain for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The Kentucky Water Patrol merged with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Division of Law Enforcement in December 1993.
The merger had the immediate effect of increasing Kentucky’s boating safety enforcement presence on waterways threefold and the number of conservation officers in hunting and fishing venues by a third.
The more visible boating enforcement presence produced a positive and lasting safety impact on Kentucky waterways. Even as state boat registrations over that time have doubled, annual boating fatalities have fallen considerably.
“Certainly that’s something I’m proud to have been a part of,” said Catron. “Being out there…being seen. We worked hard to make our lakes safe, and we made a difference.”
Catron was one of approximately 40 Kentucky Water Patrol officers who helped introduce Kentucky Fish and Wildlife conservation officers to boating safety enforcement during warmer recreational boating months. The former Water Patrol officers transitioned to hunting and fishing enforcement during cooler months.
Catron served his entire career primarily in the Lake Cumberland area, one of the largest man-made impoundments east of the Mississippi River. He joined the Kentucky Water Patrol in April 1989 and then moved to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife after the 1993 merger. He was promoted to sergeant in July 2000 and then became the 9th District captain in April 2005.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented Catron’s district with the Great Lakes and Ohio Division 2012 Water Safety Award for outstanding efforts toward promoting water safety on Lake Cumberland. Corps officials also cited the critical role that Catron and the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officers played in Lake Cumberland’s zero water fatalities that year.
Catron has spent nearly 25 years helping to make Kentucky’s waterways safe for boaters and enforcing the state’s hunting and fishing laws.
“I’ve worked with so many good people in this department,” he said. “The decision to retire is really difficult. I don’t know for sure if this is the best job in the world, but I do know that it would take a really good one to beat it.”