DNR presents law enforcement officers from Kent, Sanilac counties with marine safety awards

Contact: Lt. Tom Wanless, 517-284-6026
Agency: Natural Resources

Aug. 10, 2018

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division has recognized two law enforcement officers for their roles in protecting Michigan boaters and waterways.

Kent County Deputy Ted Albrecht has been selected as the Boating Educator of the Year, and Conservation Officer Mark Siemen has been selected as the Michigan Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2017.

The DNR selects candidates for these awards among those who demonstrate an outstanding contribution to boating safety through education and enforcement. Both awards are recognized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

“Educating boaters is a critical part of reducing boating accidents,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, boating law administrator for the State of Michigan. “Both Ted and Mark have demonstrated outstanding effort and commitment by engaging their communities to protect Michigan boaters.”

Albrecht, a marine deputy with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, brings more than 22 years of boater safety education experience to the county. He has trained and mentored more than 40 marine deputies and more than 22,000 local students – resulting in none of his students ever being involved in a fatal boating crash.

“It’s almost impossible to quantify the positive impact Ted has had on this community, both in the classroom and on the water,” said Lt. Russ Larson with Kent County Sheriff’s Office. 

In 1996 Albrecht established a boater safety education program with local schools that was embedded into the seventh- and eighth-grade curriculums. During 2017 Albrecht instructed more than 1,500 students in 12 school systems, in addition to engaging with community organizations and participating in lake association meetings. In 2018 Albrecht expanded the program into three additional school districts and has instructed 2,000 people to date.

Albrecht joined the Kent County Sheriff’s Office as a marine deputy in 1995. Every year he is responsible for mentoring new marine deputies about boater safety laws, safe operation of vessels, water rescue and becoming marine safety instructors.

With 20 years of law enforcement experience in Sanilac County, CO Siemen has invested much effort into the 627 square miles of Lake Huron and connecting waters that he patrols to ensure the safety and enjoyment of boaters and other watersport enthusiasts. 

“Siemen is a leader within our DNR district who is consistent in all areas of law enforcement,” said DNR Lt. Jeremy Payne. “He is embedded within the community and has created long-lasting relationships. We are very proud that he is the Michigan recipient.”

After issuing a citation to a kayaker for not wearing a lifejacket, Siemen continued marine patrol when he lost sight of the kayaker, who had tipped over when the kayak started taking on water. Siemen was able to locate the distressed kayaker and safely return him to shore. The kayaker expressed his gratitude to Siemen and his new understanding of why he needs to wear a lifejacket while kayaking.

On another occasion, Siemen assisted an elderly woman and her grandson when the two became stranded on Lake Huron while using a trolling motor that was not appropriate for their paddle boat. Siemen requested assistance from Lexington Fire and Rescue and was able to get both individuals back to shore.

To learn more about boating opportunities throughout the state and staying safe on the water, visit michigan.gov/boating.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Albrecht-Educator+of+the+Year+Award-August+2018: Left to right: Lawrence Stelma, Kent County Sheriff, Deputy Ted Albrecht, DNR Lt. Tom Wanless

Siemen-Wanless-August+2018: Left to right: Conservation Officer Mark Siemen, Lt. Tom Wanless