State Police Divers are taught at the Academy by state-certified police instructors. The Diver Training School staff are active police divers who are experts in police underwater search and recovery.
Diver candidates undergo a highly competitive selection process, which begins with a physically demanding swimming and agility test. Those who pass go on to a five-week, 160-hour program of intensive physical and psychological stress testing and training.
Successful candidates earn their Certified Police Diver designation by demonstrating competence in all aspects of advanced sport diving, along with training in:
- Deep dive/5 atmospheres;
- Zero-visibility diving;
- Helicopter water entries;
- Crime scene awareness;
- Evidence collection, and
- Courtroom testimony.
The SCUBA Dive Team's regimen of training, practical exercises and re-qualification takes place throughout the year. In addition to monthly practice sessions, all divers attend an annual weeklong, in-service dive training session at Lake George, NY. This session focuses on diver re-qualification and additional training, including:
- Ice diving;
- Airboat operations;
- Use of lift bags;
- Deep dive re-qualification to 132 feet;
- Contaminated water diving;
- Helicopter transport;
- Helicopter-Billy Pugh rescue net use;
- Underwater metal detector use, and
- Dry suit operation.