Statement issued Friday:
Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer announces a new addition to the Sheriff's Department services: the Sheriff's Department Underwater Dive Team. Through four (4) volunteers, Mark Thrasher, Joshua Thrasher, Patrick Woehnker, and Joshua Buhro the team was made possible.
The underwater dive team is an extension of the Steuben County Sheriff's Reserve Marine Patrol and is made up of volunteers.
All four dive team members are certified scuba Instructors and part of Midwest Dive Supply and "We Teach Scuba", located in Steuben County. All four have volunteered their time and equipment to this project. All diving equipment, including a special dive platform watercraft that the four regularly use, will be brought by this newly formed unit of specially trained individuals. All are nitrox certified which allows for longer and deeper underwater diving.
The purpose of this newly formed underwater dive team is for recovery. Detectives and deputies can use this service to recover stolen property or items of evidentiary purposes, as well as the recovery of persons believed to have drowned.
Sheriff Troyer will further make available to the entire community the use of the underwater dive team for the location and recovery of items lost in the lakes of Steuben County.
"The four dive team members log over 400 hours a year diving in Steuben County Lakes in both summer and winter (ice) season. They have an excellent working knowledge of the Steuben County lakes that will make this unit an invaluable service to the people of Steuben County."
Mark and Josh Thrasher approached Sheriff Troyer in January, expressing their passion for underwater diving and their desire to volunteer their services to the Sheriff's Department and Steuben County. "I was thrilled to have the offer of service and to see such a strong documented training and experience background". Currently the four specialists are teaching basic scuba lessons and have one Sheriff's Deputy, Deputy Mike Kugler, in attendance. This training is done for Sheriff's Deputies free of charge.
Dive Team members are sworn deputies with the Sheriff's Department that carry law enforcement powers and authority while operating during underwater missions sanctioned by the Sheriff's Department.
Anyone interested in using the services of Steuben County Sheriff's Department Underwater Dive Team are asked to call the Sheriff's Department at 260-668-1000 ext. 5000 or via Communications at 260-665-3131.
Timothy R. Troyer