By Roland Rodriguez
They don’t need light or even visibility in the water to see things, which is important when recovering evidence in an underwater crime scene in less than clear water.
Every month, members of the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Underwater Recovery Team hone their skills with dive training at the Flour Bluff Natatorium.
“We are running them through a controlled environment to where they are able to see what they are doing, and we are able to see them with a safety diver, ” C.C.P.D. Senior Officer Keith Strasheim.
Twice a month the dive team makes sure they make every training session count and go over the equipment and every safety and dive procedure.
“When you come into an operational dive when it’s a real live situation, you are going to stumble and fall, and we don’t need that to happen in a real life situation. So,continuous training, stress and occultation is what we are looking for,” said Strasheim.
The dive team responds to an average of 15-20 calls each year. Missions include searching for a drowning victim, evidence,narcotics, vehicles, and explosives.
“On top of that, we also do a lot of Homeland Security diving in the Port of Corpus Christi when the military ships come in. We search the docks before they come in, searching for any unknown dangers that we may come across,” said Strasheim.
The Dive Team says every dive is different; it could be a 9-12 foot dive in the Packery Channel or a 50 foot dive in the Port. Either way, they have to stay in their toes.
“They have already been through that stress so they know how to operate in a confined environment,” said Strasheim.
The C.C.P.D. Dive Team has 11 fully-qualified primary divers and is looking to add more when they hold a dive school at the end of May to help fill 3 slots.