Joe Pool Lake Visitors Not Returning Life Jackets

Grand Prairie program to lend life jackets hits snag

By Christine Lee
|  Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012  |  Updated 6:39 PM CDT
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Recent drownings at Joe Pool Lake led to an initiative where lake goers were supposed to just borrow life jackets, instead the flotation devices disappeared from the lake.

Christine Lee, NBC 5 Grand Prairie Reporter

Recent drownings at Joe Pool Lake led to an initiative where lake goers were supposed to just borrow life jackets, instead the flotation devices disappeared from the lake.

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Grand Prairie is offering life jackets for Joe Pool Lake visitors to borrow, but nearly half of them have disappeared in one week.

Multiple city departments worked to provide the almost 250 life jackets at Lynn Creek Park and Loyd Park after three fatalities, including two drownings, at Joe Pool Lake.

Duane Strawn, the city's manager of parks and lake parks, said multiple kiosks at the two parks hold the free vests.

"We marked them so when they get through using them they can put them back [and] be ready for the next swimmer," he said.

But many people who borrow the vests are not returning them, Strawn said. Almost half of them are missing after being out for one week.

"Maybe ... they just threw it in the car by mistake, and they get home, and they're going to pack them and bring them back the next time they come," Strawn said.

The vests cost close to $2,000.

Lynn Creek Park visitors said it's a shame the borrowing turned into theft.

"We did notice one was floating in the water when we got here, and there was a boat having trouble, but before they left, they gafted it and took it with them," said Forest Hill resident Vicki Humphries.

"People do a lot of things that really don't surprise me, but I'm just hoping that, in the future, that they understand the importance of the life jackets staying out here," said Charles Dade, who came with a group of children from the Genesis Foundation Childcare and Learning Center.

Strawn said the park plans to restock the live vests and hope people will remember to return them.

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