Officer Tim Baumgarten
Arizona Game and Fish Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officer Tim Baumgarten of the Arizona Game and Fish Department as Officer of the Month for April 2006.
As the nation emerges from yet another bitter cold winter, millions of Americans will venture out to enjoy a day of boating on our vast waterways. Boaters, fisherman, and personal watercraft riders share the waterways and for the most part, obey the rules and regulations set forth for their own safety. When these laws are broken on the water, the consequences are severe and often fatal. One officer patrolling the Colorado River has become a national figure in his groundbreaking efforts to stop these violators before they start.
Officer Tim Baumgarten, a 24-year veteran with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), is assigned to the Kingman Region of the Colorado River. At the height of the watercraft season, this 215-mile stretch of river hosts an approximate 1.3 million boaters per month.
Officer Baumgarten was detailed to the first Operating Under the Influence (OUI) waterway checkpoint in Arizona's history back in 1993. Since then he has participated and/or supervised more than 70 on the water sobriety checkpoints, more than any other Arizona watercraft officer. He is credited with more than 100 OUI arrests and has assisted with hundreds more. In 2004 alone Officer Baumgarten supervised 8 OUI checkpoints resulting in 342 citations and 31 OUI arrests.
Officer Baumgarten was recruited to draft language to be passed into law for the Nevada Division of Wildlife and in 1993 drafted language to establish a "No Wake Zone" along a problematic section of the Colorado River. The results were immediate, dropping the number of watercraft related accidents to almost zero.
Officer Baumgarten has also established himself as an expert in the areas of boat theft and watercraft accident investigations. He is the lead instructor in watercraft laws and patrol procedures for his agency's Watercraft Enforcement and Tactics Survival School. The Arizona Game and Fish Department's innovative approach to watercraft OUI enforcement has gained national recognition, as has Officer Baumgarten who is frequently invited to lecture and conduct classes in state and regional departments across the country. He is an instructor at the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and helped develop a watercraft law enforcement training program for federal officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Geogia.
Officer Baumgarten's hard work and dedication to the safety of America's boaters has not gone unnoticed. Bob Posey, a Regional Supervisor with the Arizona Game and Fish Department stated, "Tim is an outstanding asset to watercraft law enforcement efforts not only in his state, but also across the nation. Tim's tireless devotion of safe boating and detecting and removing the impaired boaters has made Arizona's waterways a much safer place for all boaters, particularly those along the Colorado River."
Officer Baumgarten's record is filled with commendations and awards. Most notably, in 1997 he received an Award of Merit from the National Water Safety Congress for "outstanding accomplishments in prevention of water related accidents and drowning". In 2002 he was named the Arizona Game and Fish Officer of the Year by the Fraternal Order of Police and in 2005 the NASBLA named him the National Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.