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Jack’s Journal: Dive Team

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They are Grand Traverse County deputies. They come from the ranks of road patrol, detective bureau or corrections: they are the dive team. 

They hit the water to look for evidence or recover victims; that second one is tough duty but they are proud to do it.

“You’re bringing closure to a family that’s lost a loved one. Our team are the ones who do it and consider it a serious mission and we do our best every time we go out,” said Sgt. Chris Osse, dive team leader.

Many times their job considering the conditions is like looking for that needle in a hay stack. It’s dark and murky and the bottom is all silt. Then it’s an inch by inch search.

“Even in our inland lakes, the bottoms are all silt so we go by feel a lot. You get on the bottom of the lake and use your hands,” explained Sgt. Osse.

One tool that has proven to be a great help is the ROV, remote operated vehicle. It uses an 800-foot line to use lights, camera and sonar to scan for items to be searched.

On this practice session, the team is looking for a mooring anchor used by Northwestern Michigan College.

“If we find targets on sonar that might be what we are looking for. Instead of sending divers to go down and risking a person we can send the ROV down. It has camera and lights. It can eliminate a lot of water for us,” said Sgt. Osse.

They practice year round, in all weather. They are ready to go under the ice when called. They have specific skills that, when needed, are much appreciated.

The deputies love the job but always hope for a non-eventful shift, but are trained and ready if needed.