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Water Safety Training

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 19 Issue: 10 Dated: (October 1992) Pages: 82-84,87
J Fletemeyer
Date Published
4 pages
The training program used by the police department of Palm Beach, Fla. has overcome many of the logistical problems that confront police agencies that need to train their police officers in water safety so that they can respond effectively to drowning accidents.
Police officers are often the first to respond to a drowning accident, so all departments with aquatic environments must provide their police personnel with some water rescue training. Logistical factors that often complicate this training include the need for outside help, the lack of time, the costs, and the need to avoid exposing police officers to an unreasonable risk. The Palm Beach agency requires each prospective police officer to take a swimming proficiency test that includes underwater swimming, submerged breath holding, weight recovery, treading water, and swimming for 100 yards. Each police officer also receives 8 hours of water rescue training that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation, lectures, videos, and on-site water rescue practice. The program repeatedly emphasizes that officers should never jeopardize their own lives when attempting a rescue. It also provides training on four types of rescues: those accomplished by talking, those involving an object such as a pole, those involving throwing a bag attached to a rescue line, and those in which the officer enters the water. Each patrol vehicle carries basic rescue equipment, including polypropylene rescue line, a spool, a rescue buoy, and a throw bag attached to line. Photographs


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