The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department Dive Team started in 1972 with the members using basic SCUBA diving equipment and very little training. Most of the equipment belonged to the members themselves. Eventually, the Sheriffs Department began purchasing tanks and other more modern equipment. During the past few years the team has seen big improvements in the equipment both in safety and technology. New departmental policies have been implemented to make dive call-outs safer and more efficient. The new "High Tech" equipment recently acquired includes; a mini Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV), Sonar and Rigid helmets or “Hard Hats” to perform surface-supplied dives.
Currently, the Dive Team consists of twelve members, a sergeant and a lieutenant. The Team’s duties are to recover evidence, recover victims, assist in investigations involving items being placed into the water, and perform swift water rescues. On the average, the Dive Team responds to 20 to 25 calls a year. Sometimes dive calls are as easy as recovering a partially submerged car, or as complex as an extensive search in zero visibility water fighting swift currents and unknown hazards. Due to the level of training and expertise possessed by members of the Dive Team, the Team is often requested by neighboring counties for mutual aid.
Being on the dive team isn’t recreation diving. The Dive Team members put in a lot of training, self-discipline and time to make each dive a successful and safe one. The Dive Team trains on a monthly basis and Dive Team members have been trained and qualified in open water diving, advanced open water diving, search and rescue, advanced search and rescue and swift water rescue. All members complete a course in Public Safety Diving, through a nationally recognized Public Safety Diving training agency. Some of the members have other specialized training that they either procured themselves or gained through the Sheriffs Department. The Dive Team is currently listed as an OES Type 2 Dive Team.
If you are involved in an incident where the Dive Team may be activated, your observations of the incident will be greatly appreciated. This will make the investigation of the incident and recovery proceed smoother and will possibly decrease the amount of time involved by the Dive Team and other involved agencies.