EXCLUSIVE: LMPD, Fire Dive Teams train for the unthinkable

LMPD dive team training

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – From rough conditions on the waters to rescue and recovery efforts, LMPD's Dive Team conducted training on the Big Four Lawn Tuesday.

Police officers along with Louisville Fire and Rescue took over the lawn near the Big Four Bridge with some veteran and new recruits. It’s called Swift Water Recovery Training.

“A lot of times when people go into the water, especially during swift water conditions, getting out to them quickly becomes an issue so the helicopter allows us to get to them a lot quicker,” Sgt. Charles Robinson said.

He tells us that rescuing people or recovering evidence from the water by their boat is not always the best option.

“A lot of trees, cars that type of stuff in the water...there are a lot of obstructions we have to work through. A lot of entanglements, trash debris in the water they all become issues for what we do," he said.

Officer Erik Kemp, a member of the LMPD Dive Team says, “I'm a little bit nervous, but pretty excited though but I'm not afraid of heights so this should be a lot of fun but jumping out of the helicopter will be interesting."

From seasoned veterans to rookies like Officer Kemp, this training helps prepare for the unpredictable Kentuckiana weather.

Kemp tells us, "If there is any flooding anywhere or if someone gets lost in the river then we are able to go out and help them and be prepared for it – hopefully we never have to use it."

Two by two they go up and two by two they dive down. The team members then complete their training by swimming to the buoy placed in the Ohio. It's been an unfortunate July for this team.

They were called to recover the bodies of Marcus Williams, who was swept away by currents while fishing on July 8 and they also helped recover a teenager in Meade County who drowned near Battletown that same day.

“Being able to do something for the family and give back to them and bring their loved one home is very important to us," Sgt. Robinson said.

As the chopper rises from the ground and the divers enter the Ohio, they say it's the time of year for everyone to remember that no one is excluded from water safety rules.

In a real life rescue or recovery, divers comb a body of water at the bottom and often cannot see in front of them.

Officers want the public to know that everyone should always wear a life jacket and do your part of staying safe while on the water.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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