Dive team utilizes the Patterson Aquatic Center
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Apr 08, 2014 | 1480 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies pull a recovery dummy inside of a body bag from the Patterson Aquatic Center pool during training exercises Thursday, April 3. Deputies routinely use the pool to train in various diving scenarios.—Nick Rappley/Patterson Irrigator
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies pull a recovery dummy inside of a body bag from the Patterson Aquatic Center pool during training exercises Thursday, April 3. Deputies routinely use the pool to train in various diving scenarios.—Nick Rappley/Patterson Irrigator
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Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Lloyd MacKinnon, a homicide detective in his main assignment, waits his turn to exit the Patterson Aquatic Center pool Thursday, April 3, after recovering a training dummy. MacKinnon searched the pool in with black tape over his diving helmet to simulate zero visibility conditions such as diving in murky water at night. —Nick Rappley/ Patterson Irrigator
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Lloyd MacKinnon, a homicide detective in his main assignment, waits his turn to exit the Patterson Aquatic Center pool Thursday, April 3, after recovering a training dummy. MacKinnon searched the pool in with black tape over his diving helmet to simulate zero visibility conditions such as diving in murky water at night. —Nick Rappley/ Patterson Irrigator
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Deputies check Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Camire, a diver with the Sheriff’s Dive search and recovery team, after he exited the Patterson Aquatic Center pool Thursday, April 3. He had helped recover a training dummy in zero-visibility simulated conditions.
Deputies check Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Camire, a diver with the Sheriff’s Dive search and recovery team, after he exited the Patterson Aquatic Center pool Thursday, April 3. He had helped recover a training dummy in zero-visibility simulated conditions.
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Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Search and Recovery Dive Team members were busy occupying the Patterson Aquatic Center pool Thursday, April 3 during a four-hour training event in which divers searched for training dummies that served as bodies in zero-visibility simulated conditions.

The divers took turns hopping into the pool with tape on the front of their 32 pound $30,000 helmets to simulate late night, murky water dives to recover bodies.

Stanislaus County Dive Team leader Sgt. Paul Yotsuya, who is assigned to Patterson, said the facilities are ideal for divers and the Sheriff’s department appreciated the city of Patterson giving access to the deputies.

The four-hour training consisted of six exercises where different divers using hard line air compressors and scuba back-up systems attempted to locate “Recovery Randy,” the training dummy used by the dive team. Yotsuya specifically pointed out the helmets, which were procured after the two week exhaustive search for 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas in early 2011.

Cardenas was taken by Jose Esteban Rodriguez from his grandmother’s arms and driven away in a silver Toyota Corolla, Jan. 18, 2011. Minutes later, a farm worker reported seeing a vehicle that matched the Corolla’s description roll into the Delta-Mendota Canal near Zacharias Road, where both Rodriguez and Cardenas drowned.

Investigators recovered Cardenas’ body in the Delta-Mendota Canal near Santa Nella on Feb. 1, 2011 and Rodriguez’s body in the waterway near Bell and Diehl roads south of Crows Landing 11 days later.

Three years ago divers used face masks with little head protection while diving, which hindered them from entering the Corrolla to search when it was located, Yotsuya said. The bright yellow helmets will help the next time there is a search, he added.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputy diver Lloyd MacKinnon, also a homicide detective, swam around the pool using search tactics to locate Recovery Randy. Once the mannequin was located, a second diver named Scott Camire entered and helped place a body bag on the “victim.”

The training dummy was then taken by the divers across the pool to a point where other deputies helped extract the faux body. The divers took their time exiting the pool and getting their bearings back after having spent up to 45 minutes in the pool with no visibility.

Nick Rappley can be reached at nick@pattersonirrigator.com or 209-568-9975.
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