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Aquatic Troopers: Taking the Plunge

NCJ Number
Trooper Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1988) Pages: 33-37
M W Berry
Date Published
5 pages
This article describes the role of the Virginia State Police scuba diving team.
Two of the more common jobs State Police scuba divers are asked to do are body and evidence recoveries. The conditions for these recoveries are usually unfavorable; i.e. no visibility, cold water, swift or deep water, and sometimes a combination of all four. The work is dangerous and divers often get the assignment after other divers have refused or attempted without success. The dive team is also responsible each year for recovering thousands of dollars in stolen property. The dive team requires extensive scuba courses covering basic to advanced scuba knowledge and skills, with a strong emphasis on search-and-recovery. Classes are taught under the Professional Association of Diving Instruction (PADI) system. The training program begins with a PADI open-water course consisting of a week of classroom and pool work. The second week consists of a PADI advanced open-water course in which students learn advanced diving skills, such as natural navigation and limited visibility and night diving. The final week is designed to train the diver in search-and-recovery. Among the new developments, the training has expanded to include underwater tact team support and rescue diver training, especially important because of the recent discovery that drowning victims can be revived after long periods of submersion.