Archive for Saturday, June 3, 1995

COUNTY DIVE TEAM HITS MUNICIPAL POOL FOR TRAINING

June 3, 1995

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Looking more like Jacques Cousteau than a cop on the job, Mik Shanks suited up for a dip Friday in the Lawrence Municipal Pool.

Shanks, a Lawrence police officer and member of the interdepartmental Underwater Search and Recovery Team, donned a $5,000 rubber scuba suit and full diving gear as part of a training drill for Douglas County Ambulance Service personnel.

The idea, said Scott Dieker, a dive team member and shift training officer for DCAS, was to show paramedics how to get a diver who needs medical attention out of a suit.

That's not as easy as it sounds. The rubber suit Shanks modeled Friday was a sausage-skin fit and zipped horizontally across the upper back. In addition, he wore weights around his ankles and waist, an elaborate harness for his oxygen tanks and a full face mask complete with a communication line.

Dieker explained that divers in the ``black water'' of Kansas rivers and lakes could easily get into trouble by becoming tangled in heavy-test monofilament fishing line and other muddy-bottom debris.

Dieker said the training sessions were timely because the dive team spends more time in the water searching for evidence and, unfortunately, drowning victims, during the summer.

Occasionally, the divers are in a position to do more than retrieve bodies of drowning victims but time restraints work against them, he said. ``We don't advertise rescue because we can't really guarantee that we'll get there fast enough to affect a rescue.''

The dive team -- which includes seven divers representing the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, Lawrence and Kansas University police departments, DCAS and Lawrence Fire Department -- typically is called out three or four times a year, Dieker said.

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