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Dive Team

Dive Team Members

Dive Team Members

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Police Divers conduct search, rescue and recovery operations along the 68 linear miles of shoreline in the City of Tampa. The Dive Team works together with the Marine Unit.  Most dive operations take place in low to zero visibility. The divers develop a search pattern for a site and then literally dive by touch. They also utilize high tech side scan sonar and underwater metal detectors.  Police divers work in every division of the department and are called out to extend the arm of law enforcement below the waterline.

Recoving A Stolen VehicleEvidence Recovery

Divers recover physical evidence such as weapons, stolen property and vehicles used during the commission of a crime. To protect evidence, it is brought to the surface in a sealed container filled with water from the location. It is then transported to a state laboratory for testing. Recovered weapons can include handguns, rifles, shell casings, knives and more. Divers have recovered more than 100 vehicles in the last five years. The vehicles end up in the water as the result of accidents or suspects dumping them in attempt to hide evidence.

Rescue & RecoveryDiver In The Water

 Divers are trained to repel from Tampaís bridges and jump out of police helicopters to rescue people in the water. While these dramatic rescues are the pinnacle of a diverís career, they are rare. The dive team is usually working in a recovery mode to find an accident or crime victim lost in Tampa Bay, the Hillsborough River or one of the hundreds of ponds in our city limits.

 

Divers Training Zero Visibility In PoolTraining

All members of the team are trained in rescue diving and are nationally certified public safety divers. They keep their skills sharp with intense monthly training that requires diving with a blacked out mask to test decision making in zero visibility conditions. Dive skills and knowledge are continually tested by creating high stress situations above and below water to ensure divers are always ready for actual dive operations. They also train to jump out of the police helicopter and to repel down Tampaís bridges for rescue operations. Divers stay physically fit with regular swims across Tampa Bay.
 

Divers Checking Hulls of ShipsHomeland Security

The Dive Team plays a critical role in keeping the nationís 12th largest port safe. It works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Hillsborough County Sheriffís Office to conduct hull searches on high interest cargo vessels, cruise ships and visiting military ships. Divers search compartments below the waterline for any suspicious devices or contraband that individuals may attempt to smuggle into the port. Tactical divers are also trained to help the departmentís Tactical Response Team board any suspicious boat or ship.

Dignitary ProtectionGurading & Inspecting Waterways

Police divers provide waterfront security whenever dignitaries visit a location along Tampaís waterfront. They conduct underwater inspections of bridges and venues before a presidential or head of state visit. This is followed up by proactive patrols during the visit.

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