Forensic Search and Recovery
Forensic search and recovery is often an overlooked field when it comes to local law enforcement and forensic agencies. This is especially true when the search is in a body of water. The task may be left to a team composed of local police, firefighters, game wardens or others who possess a basic level of training and knowledge due to multiple competing certification standards in the field. Many still rely upon blind groping along the bottom in low or no visibility to find an object.
There are better options but due to the low frequency of searches and the costs- which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more- involved few jurisdictions have pursued them. Even if expense was not a factor there is the issue of proficiency and training necessary to field a viable team still remains. It is not uncommon for members of a local dive team to only practice six or eight times per year. That is simply insufficient to maintain a high level of function when using technology or advanced techniques.
The final problem with aquatic search and recovery being handled by a local organization is a deeply concerning one: they are also often the water rescue team.
Imagine this scenario: you have a local dive/water rescue team and they are out looking for a body from a drowning or crash into water. Your child falls in the local river and is swept away screaming for help. The resource that could save your child's life when seconds or minutes count is tied up on the other side of the county. By the time (probably a minimum of 30-45 minutes) they get their gear packed up, the divers out of the water and to your location....let's just say that the odds are stacked against them.
This is why having a team like ours that can step in and handle searches- especially for the cold case disappearances where the local team(s) have come up empty during the initial search- is so important. Not only can advanced technology that makes a search safer, quicker and more likely to be successful be brought to bear but the local rescue teams remain available to do what they do best: save lives.
We are not a replacement for local teams. We are striving to be a partner of theirs and a resource for them in terms of personnel, equipment and training opportunities. Like any community, we in the forensics and emergency services family are strongest when we stand together and each play to our strengths. This is not about us nor should it ever be. It is about the missing, their families and doing right by them.
If you would like to learn more, schedule a presentation on forensic search and recovery or request our assistance with a case or a missing friend or relative, please e-mail us at [email protected]