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Selfless Servants, Always Ready; Public Safety Dive Teams

Public safety diving is conducted by law enforcement, fire rescue, and search & rescue/ recovery dive teams. These dedicated teams are called to action for a variety of missions from drowning victims to location of missing evidence.

Public safety divers respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and may be required to dive in the middle of the night, during inclement weather, in zero visibility or through polluted waters. These selfless men and women are often given very little to time to plan a search and rely solely on their team members, training and specialized search equipment. JW Fishers is proud to serve as an extension of these teams by providing the right tools for the job with the same mission-focus and devotion; anytime, rain or shine.

In 2014 Detective Bill Nichols, team leader for the Oneida County Public Safety Dive Team in Rhinelander WI, along with a group of like-minded Public Safety Scuba Divers from agencies around the state of Wisconsin formed the Midwest Public Safety Diver’s Association. These divers came together with the support of their agencies to create a resource network that could support public safety dive teams in the Midwest by opening communications to share information training, equipment, operations and policies.

In 2015, the Association held its first annual conference in Stevens Point Wisconsin. More than 70 public safety divers from Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota were in attendance. This group represented several law enforcement, fire and rescue teams from across the region. The conference showcased expositions such as forensic autopsies for drowning victims, local case reviews on recoveries of homicide victims, underwater evidence collection and examples of local dive team structure. The conference quickly showed its worth and resulted in countless relationships built, contacts made and networks established that would go on to benefit all organizations represented.

Detective Nichols is a current user of both JW Fishers Pulse 8X and SAR-1 underwater metal detectors. The Pulse 8X underwater metal detector is the workhorse of the diving industry and has been rated #1 by US Homeland Security against 8 other competitors. The SAR-1 was introduced to the market in 2017 and has become indispensable to dive teams. Specifically designed for “black water” operations the SAR-1 is a must have tool for teams that must succeed when visibility and dependability are a factor and failure is not an option.

The Washington County Water Recovery Unit is part of the Water, Parks, and Trails Unit. The team is responsible for underwater search and recovery operations that have been directed or requested by the Sheriff. The dive team covers the entire county and aides surrounding communities when needed. Dive operations range from river recoveries to deep lake diving and thin ice accidents. The unit is always on call and has many functions beyond recovery missions; to assist in times of natural or man-made disasters and provide additional support for various functions held throughout Washington County. The team operates a JW Fishers ROV (remote operated vehicle), equipped with sector scanning sonar (SCAN- 650) which assists with search operations in low visibility search operations. The team also utilizes a JW Fishers Side Scan Sonar system which they train with regularly.

For more information of JW Fishers complete line of underwater search systems go to:

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