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TRWD police sergeant Chris Akers mixes serious business with a little fun and a true sense of community

By April 9, 2024

In his spare time, Chris Akers enjoys clowning around.

During working hours, Chris serves as patrol sergeant for the Tarrant Regional Water District’s law enforcement division, but as a volunteer for Shrine International – benefitting the Shriners Hospitals for Children national network that provides medical services to children in need, regardless of ability to pay – Chris is known as Kranky the Clown.

His wife and daughters are involved as well, dressing for parades, entertaining children and their families, and spreading the word about the great work of Shriners International. His youngest daughter’s clown name is Flower, his other daughter is Pom Pom the cheerleader clown, and his wife is Koko. It’s fun for a great cause, and it’s a true family affair for mom, dad and the Akers girls.

“It’s so heartwarming to meet patients who have been served by Shriners Hospitals,” Chris says. “It can bring tears to your eyes talking with adults who received Shriners care as children – their stories demonstrate the value of this helping and healing organization.”

Since the first Shriners hospital opened in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1922, the mission has been to change and improve lives. Today, Shriners is a full healthcare system with hospitals, outpatient clinics, ambulatory care centers and outreach locations across the globe.

Chris enjoys volunteering and helping others during his off hours. Last year, he also gave time to the Fort Worth Stock Show. He served on the 2023 greeting committee, helping participants get checked in for the big event and set up in their stalls. This year, he’s on the safety committee, helping lost kids find their parents and juggling other responsibilities similar to the officer patrol work that he does at TRWD on a daily basis.

Starting his TRWD career

Chris began working as a TRWD general repairman at age 19. The year was 2000, and he remembers that the water district was a smaller operation back then – everyone knew everyone else on a first-name basis.

“TRWD has always been a very close, family-oriented organization. Many of our employees have worked here a long time – some at 50-plus years – which shows the type of spirit and camaraderie we have,” Chris says.

While he moved around in a few different job areas, including water quality, Chris always had an interest in law enforcement. His supervisor recognized this and sent Chris out on an interesting venture one day, working on a job with TRWD’s law enforcement chief David Geary, who is his supervisor today.

Chris liked the work so much that he decided to enroll in police academy certificate training. About two years later, he moved into TRWD’s law enforcement division.

Patrol on the daily

TRWD law enforcement is responsible for protecting the employees, infrastructure and resources of the water district, as well as supporting safe recreational activities. The division is comprised of three areas: patrol, security operations and emergency management.

Enforcing safe watercraft use and maintaining public water safety at Eagle Mountain Lake can be a big job in the summer months when many citizens are out boating and enjoying other seasonal activities. The law enforcement team responds to boating accidents, ensures that lake safety rules are followed and checks boats for required safety equipment.

The officers also manage pollution control and investigate sightings of illegal dumping.

Since Chris is PADI certified as a public safety diver, he also investigates underwater search and rescue calls and water fatalities.

“Consider a crime scene that might be investigated in a home or other location – we do the same thing but under water,” he says. “In the lakes, you have to know your equipment and how to work safely and efficiently when there’s practically zero visibility.”

The officers use underwater sonar – sending out sound waves that are reflected by objects – to search for sunken boats or the last seen location of an accident victim. The newest tool available to the force is a lightweight underwater sonar device called AQUAEYE®. This advanced, handheld underwater scanner uses the latest in ultrasound and artificial intelligence technologies to aid in searches.

A helping hand to communities

In addition to using sonar technology on TRWD-monitored waterways, the law enforcement team has also assisted rural counties with underwater recovery and related missing persons cases.

The team is on call for disaster response as well, such as when the devastating Category 4 Hurricane Harvey dumped massive rains over Houston and surrounding areas in 2017. TRWD officers deployed to Southeast Texas with patrol boats and their lifesaving skills to aid neighborhoods, community members and essential service providers stranded by the storm’s intense flooding.

An emotional leave, a happy return home

Around 2019, Chris went part time with the TRWD force to work with his family’s towing business, and he returned full time again following the pandemic.

“It was a hard decision to leave TRWD when I went to assist the family business. It was very emotional saying goodbye to the place where I had worked my entire adult life,” he says, “and it was like coming back home when I returned.”

Chris is always moving forward, both professionally and in his volunteer endeavors, and recently was inspired to start back to college at Tarleton State University. He’s studying online for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice supervision. Chris had some previous college credits, and Tarleton’s program applies a good deal of his on-the-job training toward coursework as well.

Since he’s been a TRWD police officer, Chris has gained over 2,700 hours of training in crisis intervention, traffic control, firearms instruction, and mental health and peace officer classes.

As a sergeant for the water district, Chris supervises a team of officers, making sure they have what they need to perform their jobs each day, assisting with cases, coaching and mentoring, and actively patrolling himself. He and the other TRWD officers are based at Eagle Mountain Lake, although they often log many miles when on patrol or traveling to help with community emergencies.

Fitting it all in

Whether it’s pursuing the serious business of TRWD law enforcement and college, clowning around for children’s charity or volunteering in other ways to serve the community, Chris Akers manages to find the balance between work, play and making a difference in the lives of others. This water district employee is doing it all with heart, skills and a true sense of purpose.

Lake Current Level Conservation Level* Level Difference**
Arlington 549.37 550.00 -0.63
Benbrook 692.72 694.00 -1.28
Bridgeport 825.91 836.00 -10.09
Cedar Creek 321.78 322.00 -0.22
Eagle Mountain 646.98 649.10 -2.12
Lake Worth 591.84 594.00 -2.16
Richland-Chambers 315.32 315.00 0.32
*Conservation Level: The permitted level of water an entity is allowed to hold in a lake. Any amount above the conservation level is used for the temporary storage of flood waters and must be released downstream.
**Difference: Amount above or below conservation level.
For more information read our daily reports or the TRWD Lake Level Blog.

Check out the TRWD OneRain portal for a visualization of this information and more.

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