Melbourne Police Officers Complete Specialized Water Rescue Training
Water is everywhere in the City of Melbourne. In addition to miles of shoreline along the Indian River Lagoon, small ponds, ditches and pools dot the city’s landscape. These bodies of water pose a special challenge for first responders. Melbourne police officers are often called to rescue people from the water, including children who fall into pools, fishermen who fall off docks or boats, drivers whose cars run into ponds or water-filled ditches, or people who have fallen or jumped off a causeway bridge.
Though water rescues are common, in the past few years there has been a rise in the number of water rescues and fatalities along our waterways. To address this growing concern, the Melbourne Police Department developed a specialized water rescue training program to give its officers the skills they need to quickly and safely rescue swimmers, boaters, fishermen, children and car accident victims from the water.
“Seconds count in water rescue, and police officers are often the first to arrive at the site of an accident,” said Sgt. Jennifer Hall. “We developed this training to ensure all of our officers would be well-prepared to rescue anyone in need — no matter the circumstance.”
The training combines basic lifesaving principals and water rescue techniques with specialized skills like how to get someone out of a sinking car or how to calm down a person who is suicidal while at the same time attempting to pull him or her from the water.
The majority of Melbourne Police officers have now completed the training program, which was launched in early 2016. Ongoing sessions are being held to train new officers as they begin their service with the MPD.
The Suntree YMCA generously donates use of their indoor pool for the training sessions because the organization believes in community partnerships and recognizes the importance of water safety.
“The YMCA of Central Florida is on a mission to improve the lives of everyone in our community,” said Joe Rowlette, Operations Director at the Suntree YMCA. “Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to strengthen our community and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. We were honored to welcome the Melbourne Police Department's newest recruits into our facilities as they completed this important part of their training, which will help make our community a safer place.”
Other law enforcement agencies in the county are now beginning similar programs and are working with the MPD to share training resources. Future plans include the development of advanced water rescue techniques and providing regular refresher courses to all officers.
Learn to Be Water Safe
The Melbourne Police Department urges all citizens to use caution around water. There are lots of resources available for learning about water safety and how to stay safe around the water, like these water safety tips from the American Red Cross.
The City of Melbourne and the Suntree YMCA also offer swim lessons for various age groups and skill levels.
- Visit the Suntree YMCA website for more information about their pool and water safety classes. Information on need-based scholarships for discounted and free classes is available at ymcacentralflorida.com.
MPD officers practicing how to save a drowning victim and simulating swimming to shore.
MPD officers learning how to reload the rescue throw rope so it won't get tangled and reaches the victim when thrown