FDL County Dive Team Specialists
The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office has a handful of deputies designated to the specialized dive team. Those deputies are trained extensively to learn how to dive properly – and how to analyze and figure out situations while under the water. Sergeant Eric Halbach says it’s not quite as easy as it sounds.
He tells us “when I started diving, I had no experience – I joined the team and they sent me to classes and I knew how to swim, I still know how to swim – but I didn’t realize how much swimming you had to do. I mean, it’s a workout underneath the water – and in the winter if I have a drysuit on and undergarment, I’m wearing, besides the suit, you’ve got fifteen, sixteen pounds of counterweights on you to get you underwater.”
Halbach says it’s not an easy job, and it takes a lot of practice. He points out that “with diving you have to keep doing it, you have to keep practicing that
skill to retain it. It’ll come back to you, but with your buoyancy – you just
have to keep training. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to take
six months off and then throw your drysuit on and go back in the water. It’ll
come back to you, but to be sharp and to be fully on it, you want to keep
diving. So we try to do training at least once a month.”
He adds that every department in Wisconsin has to either “have a dive team through their Sheriff’s Office or their
fire department. But then if they don’t have one, they have to have resources
set up to be able to access one. Because under state statute, the sheriff’s
department is responsible for water recoveries.”
The Sheriff’s Office is part of a group that includes law enforcement agencies from across the state that gets together to share ideas and information about their dive operations.