Lawton Police Dive Team Gets New Boat - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Lawton Police Dive Team Gets New Boat

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LAWTON Okla_ Lawton police officers have a new piece of equipment they say they're not eager to put to use.

It's 27-foot-long pontoon boat. It's double the size of their old one. The new boat was designed exclusively for the department's dive team, and most importantly, was fitted with a sonar detection system. With it, police can see several feet below the boat and to its sides, helping them locate a body, sunken boat or vehicle.

Police say while it's been made available to them just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, they won't be taking it for a spin, unless an emergency warrants its use. It's not a recreational boat fitted with lights or sirens. It's one you'll only see on the lake in the case of tragedy or while officers train.

This weekend, Lawton Police Lieutenant Robby Edmonson said Lake Lawtonka is expected to be bustling with lake goers.

"We're seeing a lot of people that are coming up for the first time to Lawtonka because of the water level," Edmonson said. "With people coming from other states, the lakes where they're at haven't recovered from the drought. We've been fortunate enough that our lake is full. They see that, and they want to come out. "

Edmonson said he hopes the added crowd won't lead to added problems.

"When people come out for recreation, they're trying to unwind," Edmonson said. "They want to relax. They want to have fun. When you're dealing with water and people drinking and partying, then that's not a very good mix."

He said the combination can be tragic and even deadly. He said if that happens, you'll see him and other officers out on the lake in the new boat.

"We've probably recovered more boats and more cars than we do anything," Edmonson said. "We do have body recoveries, but we've been fortunate the last several years we haven't had that many people drown. In the instance we do, the boat will be very beneficial for us."

Edmonson said the boat will be easier for divers to climb in and out of, and it'll also be safer for them. He said custom-made racks that hold their air tanks. He said the tanks used to be a safety hazard. They could break loose on the boat and start to roll around.

Police believe the new boat will help their dive team's recovery efforts by cutting down their time in half.

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