The Sheriff’s Office Dive Team consists of 10 members and a commander. All of the members are full-time sworn deputy sheriffs working in patrol, custody or investigations. The dive team was first formed using volunteers. In the early to mid 1980’s, the team was converted to full-time sworn deputies. At that time it consisted of 4 divers using their own equipment and no formal underwater search and rescue training. Since then, our divers attend monthly training and our equipment acquisition has provided us with a van (retired ambulance) and a 4X4 Bronco (retired coast patrol unit). Through a state grant we purchased a new RHI boat. Divers utilize wireless communication equipment that allows our divers to talk to one another and to the shore personnel. Our dive team has trained with other agencies including Contra Costa County and the California Highway Patrol. Both of those agencies have helicopters that were utilized to shuttle divers from the shore to the middle of the bay.
In the early 1980’s, dive team members dove Kent Lake in search of a helicopter and its pilot that crashed and sank during a logging operation to expand the lake. The divers located and helped remove the helicopter. The pilot was discovered later by private divers hired by the pilot’s family.
In January of 1987, dive team members located the body of a murder victim in Stafford Lake in Novato. Evidence recovered with the body helped convict and send the killers to prison.
Since then, the dive team has responded to calls such as the recovery of a suicide victim from Lake Nicasio; the recovery of an elderly couple that drove off the road and into a body of water on the north side of Lake Nicasio; the recovery of the body of a fisherman who fell from his boat in Tomales Bay; the search for a fisherman who was thrown from an out-of-control boat in the Carquinez Straits in Vallejo; the search for a kidnapped girl in Vallejo; the recovery of a suicide victim who drove her car into Stafford Lake; the search for the body of a boater in Lake Sonoma and the recovery of a teenage boy who drowned while fishing at a ranch reservoir. Dive team members have also conducted numerous searches for evidence in various bodies of water throughout the county and they have assisted several agencies outside of Marin County.
In August of 2000, divers helped recover numerous gym bags containing body parts from the Mokelumne River on the Sacramento Delta. The bags contained the dismembered body parts of three murder victims who were part of a murder spree during which five people were killed by three suspects out of Concord.
Dive team members assisted the Modesto Police Department in their underwater search of the bay for evidence in the Laci Peterson case.
Our dive team is always looking for new and improved equipment and ways to acquire it.
If you would like to make a donation to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office dive team, please contact Lieutenant Scott Anderson at 415-473-5172.