Marine Patrol Critical to Public Safety on Alabama’s Waterways
Instead of climbing into a police cruiser everyday, Thomas Kennington climbs into a boat to patrol some of Alabama’s beautiful waterways.
For many, State Trooper means officer on the roadways but the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has a couple of different divisions such as SBI and the Alabama Marine Patrol.
The AMP Division patrols Alabama’s public waterways, oversees the registration of all pleasure boats and the licensing of all boat operators, and operates a statewide education program.
In addition to serving as an officer and keeping boaters safe in Eufaula, Kennington brings years of experience on the water from serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I did the same exact job as I’m doing right now and then I heard they were hiring for Marine Patrol and I was ready to move back home,” Kennington said.
Sometimes the job of law enforcement can be thankless but it does have its perks.
“I get to do this everyday. It’s pretty cool,” said Kennington.
With one million of acres of lakes and 1,600 miles of rivers, many find boating as a popular activity across the state. Unfortunately, it has been a deadly year for boating accidents in 2019, making Marine Patrol critical to public safety.
“You got more cars and fatalities on the highway because you got more people. But, people come out to the water and they just want to have fun. They’re not thinking about other things and it leads to accidents and unfortunately fatalities,” said Kennington.
Marine Patrol Officers undergo the same training as State Troopers but they also take specialty classes to learn how to properly operate a boat and learn more about specific boating laws.
Kennington says a normal day includes cruising the lake checking on boat tags, proper lights and equipment and making sure everyone in the boat has a life jacket. Children under 8 must wear a life jacket at all times.
Currently, ALEA is actively recruiting more State Troopers.
“If you are a certified candidate, meaning that you have an APOST certificate, all you have to provide state personnel is an application and that certificate,” said Senior Trooper Jeremy Burkett.
After filling out paperwork, all recruits are required to attend the state academy for training.
“If you feel the need to serve your community or the state of Alabama, then those are the people we are looking for,” said Burkett.
If you want to apply to be a state trooper, you can do so online at https://www.alea.gov/about-alea/employment-information