Captain Conrad ProsniewskiOfficer-in-Charge of the Dive Team
Telephone: 978-744-0171 x200
For all NEMLEC emergencies please call 978-744-1212
An Overview of the Salem Police Dive Team
The Salem Police Dive Team originated in 1984 with six officers as the only police dive team north of Boston. Due to the increasing number of water related incidents, and the growing security needs of Salem Harbor, the dive team gradually expanded to its present eighteen police officers, including the Salem Harbormaster. Our divers and Harbormaster are sworn full-time police officers who hold multiple dive certifications ranging in areas to include Rapid Deployment, Rescue Diving, Search and Recovery, Blackwater Diving, Ice Diving, and Underwater Criminal Investigation. All divers are required to pass a specific dive physical examination administered by a City Physician, and an annual Aquatic Abilities Test. Our Team trains monthly, regardless of weather conditions and is called out approximately 20 times each year for a search, recovery or rescue operation.
Over the years the Salem Police Dive Team has worked with numerous Federal, State and local agencies to ensure the diverse ranges of safety and security demands are met. These agencies include the Massachusetts State Police, Army Special Forces, Navy UDT, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs Department who regularly request our assistance in searching Transport Cargo Tankers, here and out of state, for parasitic containers, I.E.D.s, illicit narcotics and illegal aliens. Besides the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team, the Salem Police Dive team is the only dive team in Massachusetts contracted by U.S. Customs to conduct hull searches. The Salem Police Dive Team is also very proud to be part of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), providing regional mutual aid to over 43 communities in northeastern Massachusetts.
What is a Public Safety Diver?
The term "Public Safety Diving" is a generic term used to describe the underwater work conducted by law enforcement search & rescue/recovery dive teams. Public safety divers (PSDs) are different from recreational divers in many aspects. Unlike a recreational diver who can plan the date, time, and location of a dive, PSDs respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays and weekends. It is not uncommon for PSDs to dive in the middle of the night, during inclement weather, in zero visibility "black water," or in waters polluted by chemicals and biohazards.
Public Safety Dive Teams face some of the most difficult and demanding scenarios of any rescue group. Typically diving in low-visibility or even blackout conditions, under ice, in contaminated waters, racing to save a life or methodically searching the bottom for evidence. This is not recreational diving, nor is recreational dive training adequate to answer the demands of these underwater activities.
In addition to "recreational" dive training, public safety divers receive specialized training for conducting search patterns, recognizing hazards, conducting risk/benefit analyses, diving in zero visibility, using full-face masks with communication systems, and recovering evidence that is admissible in court.