NASBLA names the 2021 Western Region Officer of the Year award winner
Sergeant Ken Mencl, of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office (TFCSO), has been named the 2021 Western Region Officer of the Year.
Sergeant Mencl is the supervisor of the School Resource Officer (SRO) program for the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office in Idaho. Over the last two years, he, along with his fellow SROs, has made significant strides in making the marine program one of the strongest programs in the state. The bulk of the marine work in both 2019 and 2020 fell primarily on the backs of two school officers, with some help from other deputies who signed up to work.
From 2019 to 2020, the number of boat inspections that these two officers conducted increased by over 130%. Likewise, the number of citations that were issued increased from 2019 to 2020 by more than 85%. Despite the setback we all experienced due to COVID-19, these officers increased the number of educational classes by over 407%. With all of the contacts that occurred, a total of 1,194 warnings were issued.
Twin Falls County patrols several parts of the Snake River, as well as two reservoirs. Over the past two years, Sgt. Mencl has identified two locations on the Snake River where non-motorized users come out by the hundreds, from both inside and outside of the state, every day of the week. By focusing his teams’ efforts in these locations, the sheriff's office has made a significant impact in identifying unsafe boating practices and taking steps to improve safety on Idaho’s waterways.
On top of his daily work duties, Sgt. Mencl keeps the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office’s social media pages up-to-date. He also works with the local media, both television and radio, to help amplify these safe boating messages. Every Thursday morning throughout the summer, Sgt. Mencl is on the radio talking about the importance of life jackets and other safety issues.
Despite only having 8,935 boatable acres of water in Twin Falls County, Sgt. Mencl continues to recognize that there is a large amount of work to be done, and people to be contacted. His primary efforts over the past year have been focused on boater education. Sgt. Mencl is already working on schedules and plans to maximize the agency’s effectiveness on the water to prevent incidents throughout Idaho.
At the onset of the marine season, Sgt. Mencl looked at the previous year’s performance and set goals for the 2020 season. Upon establishing achievable goals, he then directed this effort amongst his team and community by promoting a safer boating environment, not only in Twin Falls County, but surrounding counties as well.
Sgt. Mencl’s technical skills are second to none, but his ability to deal with the public and promote boating and water safety education, is what makes him stand out from the rest. He is a great leader for his team and consistently brings a positive attitude to the work environment. Sgt. Mencl’s eagerness to keep his teams’ efforts directed and focused is what makes him such a great role model for his fellow officers. Congratulations, Sergeant Ken Mencl!
First presented in 2000, the Marvin “Butch” Potts Memorial Award, known as the Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, is presented annually to the boating law enforcement officer who has made outstanding contributions to the field of boating law enforcement. The award program consists of three levels: state, regional and national.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. We offer a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards, publications and more. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, we affect the lives of nearly 85 million American boaters.