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NASBLA names the 2022 Northern Region Officer of the Year award winner

By Taylor Matsko posted 07-19-2022 01:59 PM


NASBLA names the 2022 Northern Region Officer of the Year award winner

Sergeant Brian Piernicky

Sergeant Brian Piernicky, of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, has been named the 2022 NASBLA Northern Region Officer of the Year.

Sergeant Piernicky has overcome many challenges in his time with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. When he was first hired as a conservation officer, he could not swim and had never operated a boat before. Sgt. Piernicky took it upon himself to take swimming lessons and to practice boat operation, especially in the areas of boater contact and operation in rough water. He spent many hours training himself to be proficient in operating vessels in various conditions, including backing the trailer down the ramp.

Sgt. Piernicky’s self-starter mentality is one of the reasons he was promoted to the position of sergeant. He has mastered boat operation and puts in more time on the water, each year, than any other officer in the district and would rank high in hours statewide.

Sgt. Piernicky has made several rescues, many of them during very rough conditions. He has also mastered the use of his side-scan sonar unit. Sgt. Piernicky has located sunken vessels and has made several body recoveries on Nebraska’s lakes, bringing closure to families that are dealing with an unimaginable situation. He is often called upon for help when other officers run into issues running their side-scan unit. Additionally, Sgt. Piernicky has directed rescue operations involving several law enforcement agencies, some with success, and unfortunately, some that resulted in recoveries.

This past year, Sgt. Piernicky has taken on the role of a boating instructor with new officers in his district. As a sergeant, he prompted his subordinates to conduct numerous special projects involving boating law enforcement in 2021. He planned the district’s 2021 Operation Dry Water activity and patrol locations. In 2021, Sgt. Piernicky also organized and participated in multi-boat details on the different lakes in his district and sub-district.

Sgt. Piernicky understands the importance of maintaining public safety on the water. He spends a great deal of his time enforcing the boating under the influence (BUI) laws of Nebraska and led the state in BUI arrests last year. Recently, Sgt. Piernicky attended the NASBLA BUI Seated Battery Instructor course to fill a void that he felt he, his district and the state had in BUI enforcement. Sgt. Piernicky has motivated his officers to get involved in boating law enforcement and education by training them so that they feel comfortable working on the lakes and streams in their areas.

Sgt. Piernicky’s time and effort spent on the water has allowed the boating public to enjoy their water activities safely. His commitment to furthering his own knowledge and training, as well as that of his officers, has led to a decrease in the number of incidents observed and reported on Nebraska waterways. His passion for boating law enforcement does not go unnoticed. Congratulations, Sergeant Piernicky!



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.