Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dive! Dive! Dive!

With today being the first day of spring you might be thinking that future April showers should be bringing May flowers, but those rains could also bring floods.  For me, the possibility of floods has brought to mind the Overland Park Police Department’s Water Rescue Team.

The dive team is made up of seven officers and one sergeant.  Before becoming part of this specialized unit they had to, of course, prove they could swim, but you might not have thought about making sure they were not claustrophobic.  The team often comments about how dark it is in the water.  They describe it as so black that, even with a flashlight, you cannot see your hand when it is placed on the dive mask.  This means that a lot of their recovery efforts are done by feel. 

Think about that for a moment.  Can you picture yourself in the complete blackness of deep water feeling for what you are supposed to be recovering?  Or how about not seeing those hazards you should try to avoid?  A team diver once came up from a dive with 12 fish hooks in her dive suit.  Obviously this is not a job that just anyone can do.

The dive team utilizes equipment such as a ridged hull inflatable boat and dive masks that are equipped with communication devices. The team members are capable of prompt and efficient responses to underwater or swift water rescue scenes. They respond to calls for service for evidence recovery and drowning victims among other things.  The dive team has assisted other law enforcement agencies, the US Army and the United States Geological Survey.

So when the April Showers do start up, rest assured, we have a staff for that.