Mark McKinnon, the mild-mannered Public Affairs Officer for Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, invited me to go on another Media Ride-Along with Rangers patrolling Lake Lanier in preparation for the long 4th of July holiday.
Years ago I thought it would be fun to hang out with Rangers on Lake Allatoona or Lanier, so I accepted their invitations. No more. Why? Too many rules.
Unfair Media Ride-Along Rules
- You can’t play with the siren. At all. Not even a little “Woop!”
- They refuse to fire “warning shots” at fishermen minding their own business.
- Don’t even ask if there are torpedoes aboard. They hate that.
- They go all “bad cop” if you try to confiscate Cheetos from boaters stopped for Safety Checks.
- Even if you use your best pirate accent, they won’t let you make anyone “walk the plank.”
Worst of all? Television stations only send “reporters,” never their cutest weather babes.
Media Ride-Along days are boring, even on one of the planet’s most beautiful lakes. It takes about five minutes to learn that DNR Rangers are courteous, respectful, professional law enforcement officers whose primary goal is to keep people alive and to remove boaters who endanger others.
Not very glitzy, but can you imagine Lanier without Rangers keeping an eye out for Boating Under the Influence, reckless operation, personal watercraft too close to skiers, kids not wearing life preservers or boats running without lights after dark?
Have a good time on Lake Lanier this Independence Day Weekend. Follow the law and be safe. If you don’t, you might get the most expensive free ride to jail by DNR Rangers doing their jobs.