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RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 19) - North Carolina's top boating law enforcement officer, as recognized by a leading national boating safety organization, is Sgt. Mark Dutton with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The prestigious award is presented annually by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and its regional partner, the Southern States Boating Law Administrators Association.

"The state awards were created to honor boating law enforcement officers around the country, to recognize all the different and sometimes difficult responsibilities they have," said Kimberly Hermes, the association's Awards Committee staff member. "These awards provide recognition as an added show of appreciation."

Dutton was cited for his outstanding service on the Roanoke River and Lake Gaston, including the rescue of two people who had swamped their canoe in rising waters and locating a stranded duck hunter who was becoming hypothermic and getting him to safety. Also noted were his efforts to reduce alcohol-related boating accidents on the popular waterways, and his diligence in talking to the public about boating safety, including working with local media.

His cooperation with other law enforcement, search and rescue agencies and fire departments was summarized as "exceptional."

Since being nominated for the award, Dutton was promoted from a master officer based in Scotland Neck, to sergeant and is now stationed in the Ellerbe area.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a nonprofit comprised of all 50 states' recreational boating authorities and related members, devoted to boating safety education, law enforcement, boat registration and other accident reduction programs.
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