Formally organized in 1990, the Department's Underwater Search and
Recovery Unit is made up of 14 team members (10 sworn and 4
civilian volunteer flight paramedics). The team has two team
members certified as PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors while the
remaining members have attained their Dive master certification as
well as numerous specialty and commercial diver ratings.
The Unit performs its public safety
diving service in the "recovery" mode - leaving the "rescue"
function to the Fire Department's emergency rescue dive team. Our
police divers train once a month and have sponsored joint-agency
seminars with local public safety dive teams in order to share
experiences and techniques in the hopes of establishing more open
lines of inter-agency communication.
The team utilizes hard-wire communication equipment on most of its
operational call-outs and hopes to begin surface-supplied air
operations in the near future.
Most of the unit's call-out operations involve
article searches (e.g., homicide weapons, or objects of evidentiary
value) as well as stolen vehicles and homicide victims. The team
averages 10 to 12 call-outs per year. About 50% of these call-outs
involve assisting local, state and federal agencies.