Behind the scenes at a Thomasville-Thomas County Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team exercise session

By: Noelani Matthews | WTVC Eyewitness News
THOMASVILLE, Ga. — With the busy season of Summer and mid-hurricane season, the Thomasville-Thomas County Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team took to the water Friday to make sure they're trained and ready.

It's dive team commander Lisa Maxwell's responsibility to train new public safety divers. In Friday's training session, she had four new members dip their toes in the water.

The longtime Thomasville Police Department investigator brought her skills to the water. She said inspecting a crime scene is hard enough above water. The divers don't swim in pools, so in ponds, creeks and rivers, they have zero visibility.

"The best analogy that I can give is get on your hands and knees, close your eyes and now search for that set of keys you threw on the floor," Maxwell said.

In May, the squad responded to a drowning in Ochlockonee.

"Our divers were getting entangled in the huge trees that were underwater," Maxwell said.

According to Maxwell, communication is key for safety under the water, so her team uses radios to communicate with divers.

"A water moccasin or a boat, and we need to talk," she said. "Instead of you having to come up, we can keep you on the bottom and talk like we are right now."

The gear is worth thousands of dollars.

Stefanie Hadley is new to the 14-person team. She has seven months left of cross-training.

"It's something new and exciting when you get in the water and you can help people that are in need," Hadley said.

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