LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Lawton Police Department is now getting to use their new equipment thanks to a $10,000 grant. The team is called in to retrieve anything from the bottom of a pond, lake or river so having the right tools to take that dive is important to them. These items can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars so the team is thankful for the much-needed upgrade.
The dive team of about a dozen police officers, who already work in other divisions in the department, get called out for anything. Like getting cars out of lakes or getting evidence deep underwater.
"A lot of our call outs are for drowning victims. I would say that's the majority of our call outs," Detective Ken Parsons said.
Parsons has been on the dive team for about 14 years. He said in that time and for all of those assignments he has had one wetsuit, which has seen better days.
"As you can see the whole arm as a tear to the back of it, which doesn't keep you very warm," Parsons said as he was showing the whole in his wetsuit.
New wetsuits given to the senior-most members of the team to help cycle out the equipment that has sustained years of wear and tear. But they also will get breathing apparatuses, and a thing called an 'Octopus' in the diving world. It connects the diver to all the gadgets needed when deep underwater.
"This has three different devices on it. One part is actually a computer, which tells us how deep you are, what the water temperature is, how long you've been underwater, and how long you can stay under water," Parsons explains. "Here is a compass for when we need our bearings to where we are at or which way we're swimming."
Parsons said the equipment helps them do their jobs, especially the emotional ones like recovering a body and families are counting on the team.
"Getting tired and taking breaks and stuff like that. Even though it's very necessary because you want to do the best you can do and find their loved ones as quickly as you can so they can start their healing process of losing a loved one," Parsons said.
While the team gets to use their new equipment right now, they will get to train with it coming up in May when they have their yearly training.