The Ulster County Sheriff offers the services of its In-Water Rescue Team to communities and law enforcement agencies throughout Ulster County.
Rescue team members are highly trained deputy sheriffs and correction officers who, in addition to their regular duties, don dry suits and underwater breathing apparatus whenever the need for their specialized skills arises. Equipped with state-of-the-art equipment depending on the particular situation, members utilize devices such as wired and wireless voice communications, underwater metal detectors and protective apparel to fulfill their mission.
Diving specialists are experienced in all phases of underwater evidence recovery. This includes crime scene integrity and chain of custody procedures. Each year these members conduct dives involving search and recovery of evidence, victims and property. On call 24 hours a day, members are stationed throughout Ulster County when on regular patrol duty. They often train with the Navigation Unit to enhance the coordination of effort.
Divers and land support personnel, called tenders, receive their training from Lifeguard Systems, an Ulster County professional underwater rescue and recovery company.
Although tenders do not undergo the same training as divers, they perform a vital function acting as the divers’ link to the surface. Tenders attend and train for the same duration as divers until they become equally proficient in their duties.
Diver candidates undergo a demanding training process which begins with a complete physical examination. Those who pass, go on to a 2 week program of intensive physical and practical testing and training. Successful candidates earn the Certified Police Diver designation by demonstrating competence in all aspects of their training.
The In-Water Rescue Team's regimen of training, practical exercises and requalification takes place throughout the year. In addition to monthly practice sessions, additional training may include:
- Ice diving
- Black water diving
- Underwater communications
- Contaminated water diving
- Small Boat operation
- Boating Safety instruction
- Water Safety instruction
- Underwater metal detector
- Dry suit operation
- Swift water rescue