Underwater Search and Recovery Team
The Township of Ocean Police Department’s Underwater Search and Recovery Team, founded in 1972, is an elite, specialized dive unit. Comprised of nine sworn police officers, this unit is dedicated to providing the necessary dive services for the protection of the community in both local and regional waters as well as the recovery of evidence when called upon by local, state and federal authorities.
The Township of Ocean Police Department took primary responsibility from the Fire Department in 1972, due to the principal need for evidence recovery. The Fire Department, which is voluntary, was not able to provide the service due to the chain of custody and proper handling of evidence that were required. Since then the Scuba Unit (reference usage for the Underwater Search and Recovery Team) has recovered evidence for local, county and state agencies including the Prosecutor's Office. Additionally they have saved people from suicide attempts, clear and recover cars that crash and submerge into the local lakes and oceans, assisted in boating accidents, recovered drowning victims and provided diving services for many local, county, state and federal agencies when called upon. The Scuba Unit prides itself on responding to calls instantly, as they are dispatched directly through the Police Department. This also was a factor in relinquishing the primary responsibility from the Fire Department, as they are voluntary, and calls are not dispatched to officers already on duty. The Fire Department is still very committed and remains an active force in assisting the Scuba Unit.
The SCUBA Unit currently consists of the following members:
The Township of Ocean Police Department's Underwater Search and Recovery Team consist of 6 active members, of which 8 are divers and 1 are scene technicians. The 32-year-old unit is recognized and emulated by other Public Safety Scuba Units within the State of New Jersey, as it is a leader in specialized training and deployment of services to the public. These team members tediously train, prepare and perfect their abilities within the demands of weather, contaminated water, and harsh underwater environments. This specialized unit conducted 12 trainings during the course of the year that included an ice dive as well as coordinated drills with the Wanamassa First Aid and Fire Department, a stolen vehicle search and recovery operation in conjunction with the Manchester Police Department Scuba Unit, and joint training operation with the United States Coast Guard.
- Officer in Charge: Mike DeSimone
- Diver: Greg Tongring
- Diver: Luke Sciallo
- Diver: Mark Del Tin
All unit members hold numerous specialty dive certifications through nationally recognized agencies such as Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI), Technical Diving International (TDI) and the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). The dive skills necessary for deployment of the team are mastered though numerous technical trainings which are conducted throughout the year.
Currently the Scuba Unit utilizes vulcanized rubber dry suits, full-face masks with communications, specialized dive tactical gear, all of which protect the divers and their missions from harm's way including contaminated water, low/no visibility, sharp/dangerous objects, and other unknown factors they are faced with as they execute their search and recovery. Not all missions include rescuing people; some missions are strictly for evidence or body recovery, lifting vehicles which have been accidentally driven into local waters, or providing high profile event security in the waterways. The Scuba Unit has also assisted the New York Scuba Unit, and other localities when needed.
The team continues to develop and maintain the professional presence, knowledge, skills and cohesiveness to protect your local waters. If you would like to request the team's services, or for more information on the Scuba Unit, how to insure water safety or water safety programs, please call 732-531-1800.