September 16, 2021 / James Warnet

Be The Professional: Public Safety Divers and Evidence – When Being Prepared is the Only Option

Professional is not a label you give yourself–It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.

David Maister

The moon was just starting to peek over the clouds as night settled heavily across the quiet landscape… casting a pale glow over the water.

The gentle sound of tiny waves hitting the shoreline combined with buzzing insects and the call of bullfrogs in the near distance.

The dark silhouette of a man could be seen standing on the shoreline… outlined by the ever-increasing moon light.

The man looked down at an object in his hands.

He gazed at it for a long moment, almost painfully aware of it’s existence.

Then, without so much as a sound, he looked up, drew back his arm, and hurled the object out over the water.

It landed in the water with a heavy splash… and for the briefest of moments all was silent.

The man stood silently, and watched the ripples spread out from the spot where the object had disappeared.

Then he turned and walked quickly away, seeming to flee from something that only he could see.

Ready for a shocking statistic?

Did you know that over a third of murders in the US go unsolved every year?

If we expand that to all violent crime, the unsolved rate skyrockets to roughly 55%.

How much of that do you think is because crucial evidence is never found… or correctly processed?

I actually don’t know the answer to that last one…

But I have stood on the water’s edge while a particularly unpleasant criminal with a long history of violence smugly said:

“I threw it in there but you’ll never find it.”

He didn’t know it at the time, but that was the entirely wrong thing to say to us.

Before we get to that…

I’m going to tell you a story you’re going to want to hear.

Well, a couple of stories, actually.

But I guarantee the next few pages will be immensely valuable to any public safety divers that might enter the water looking for evidence.

Along the way I’m going to guide you through reframing your reality… just a bit – but enough for you to have a few “Ah-Ha” moments…

And I’m going to challenge what you may have thought about “routine evidence collection” while offering a few “tools for your toolbox”.

Because the truth is…

There is no such thing as “routine evidence collection” and if we are called to perform…

We owe it to those we serve to be Prepared.

Unfortunately, we’ve all seen how some public safety dive teams, even some law enforcement teams, operate when called to retrieve evidence underwater…

And how little they really seem to know about the tasks they are about to undertake.

Inevitably, their performance is subpar, sometimes even damaging to the case outcome.

And that usually leaves a bad taste in the mouth of whoever called them, hoping for some knowledgeable professionals.

On some level, that hurts all of us.

The good news is we don’t have to be that way…

And the path to executing well-prepared and professional evidence recovery operations doesn’t require years of sworn law enforcement experience.

It doesn’t even require being law enforcement!

So, if you’ve ever approached a dive call for evidence and wondered what you didn’t know about what you were about to do…

This series is for you.

And if you’ve ever approached a dive call for evidence and didn’t wonder what you didn’t know…

This series is most definitely for you.

Seeking improvement is a choice we can all make.

It isn’t the easy choice and it’s definitely not the fastest choice…

But if you’re like us, and I think you are, it’s the only choice we want to make.

Because professionals push. They train. They learn and dissect and practice.

Mediocrity has no place in the world of the professional.

And professional is what we are…

So let’s push it.

Before we get to the good stuff, however, we need to rip the Band Aid off

…and take a hard look at the lies we tell ourselves.

Need to share this with someone?

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Northeast Public Safety Divers is one of the best public safety dive training companies that offers a variety of SDI and ERDI certification courses to recreational and public safety divers, from basic all the way through Supervisor, with a large catalog of specialties. Our operation is mobile and we will bring an entire certification course to your department or area.

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