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Dive Team

 Sheboygan County Dive Team
Dive Team Supervisor
: Steve Steinhardt
Dive Team Leader: Officer John Rupnick
Assistant Dive Team Leader: Deputy Steve Wimmer

Sheboygan County Dive Team Members:

Officer Jason Pacey                              Deputy Damian Ballantine
Officer John Rupnick                             Deputy Kurt Schmidt
Officer Patrick Leichtnam                      Deputy Adam Walter
Officer Spencer Wilson                         Corrections Officer Mike Russ
Officer Jeffrey Mares

Sheboygan County is located in east central Wisconsin on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The county covers 514 sq. miles with a population of 113,000 residents. There are 72 inland lakes covering 2111 acres and five rivers. Sheboygan County also encompasses 775 sq. miles of Lake Michigan. Sheboygan County is located in east central Wisconsin on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The county covers 514 sq. miles with a population of 113,000 residents. There are 72 inland lakes covering 2111 acres and five rivers. The significant amount of water and recreational activities in Sheboygan County substantiates the need for a quick response dive team.

The Sheboygan County Law Enforcement Dive Team is the only team within the county. Several surrounding counties have no dive team and have mutual aid agreements with our team.

The Sheboygan County Law Enforcement Dive Team was established in 2000. Originally The Sheboygan Police Department and the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department had separate dive teams. These separate teams were in existence since the 1960’s. The two teams were combined in an effort to provide better service and cost savings to taxpayers. The team is comprised of five deputies from the sheriff’s department and five officers from the police department. Our mission is to promote water safety within the community, provide our departments with the capability of victim and property recovery, and perform searches for evidence as it relates to crimes.

The ten members each have minimum certifications for PADI open and advanced open water, ice diver, dry suit diver, and dive rescue specialist I. In addition, members have training as med diver, underwater investigator, surface ice rescue, equipment specialist, dive rescue specialist II, visual cylinder inspector, and dive master.

Annually the team schedules eighty hours of in-house training. This consists of a yearly skills review at the YMCA pool. Members must show proficiency in basic SCUBA skills as well as complete the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists watermanship skill test. This is a timed test consisting of a 500yard swim, 800yard snorkel, 15minutes treading water, and a 100yard diver tow.

Additional in-house training consists of ice diving, wreck diving and scenario based search pattern work in our local waters. Our team works closely with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department Boat Patrol and the United States Coast Guard Station Sheboygan. We are indebted to these two agencies for their assistance in providing us transportation and on-station support during Lake Michigan operations.

All of our dives are in personally assigned dry suits with dry gloves, as well as Sea Pro QD BCD. Currently the team has four Divator MK II full-face masks, with plans to outfit the other six divers in the future. In addition the team operates out of a 25ft cargo van with a 14ft inflatable Zodiac. All gear is stored in the dive van with tanks, buoyancy compensator devices, and regulators assembled. Members have their own designated section in the dive van with their additional gear organized for timely deployment. Supplementary team gear includes ice drills, ice shanty, portable heater, line guns, sonar, and underwater camera.

All of our divers are committed to improving themselves and the team. Through additional training and resources we are striving to improve individually and as a team with the goal to continue to provide excellent service to our community.

 

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