PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– A local Bay County Law Enforcement Officer is receiving recognition at the National Level.

This past weekend, Senior Officer Specialist Nicole Basford of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was honored as the ‘Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year’ by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators at their annual conference in New Hampshire.

Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign. Its main mission is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related boating crashes and fatalities through recreational boater awareness and enforcement.

Basford has served as an FWC Officer for 10 years, nine of which she served in Northwest Florida. 

Over the course of her career she has made 58 BUI/DUI cases. She’s also served as a mentor to countless officers and investigators educating them on the intricacies of BUI enforcement as a BUI instructor at the FWC Academy.

In 2019, Basford was instrumental in establishing the Panama City Area BUI Task Force and was
chosen as team leader. The task force, comprised of six officers, focused on an intensified effort to
detect intoxicated boaters, enforce BUI laws and make arrests pertaining to alcohol and drug
related offenses.

Basford said BUI enforcement became her passion early-on in her career.

“We are there to save peoples lives. You want to go out and drink that is fine, but make sure you designate a driver. Just like you would in a car, do so on the boat,” said Basford.