Scuba Diving as an Enforcement Tool

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is the state agency in Tennessee charged with the enforcement of all wildlife, fishing, and boating laws of the state. These duties include, but are not limited to, the protection of all fish and wildlife (including mussels), and the investigation of boating accidents. As a matter of necessity, the TWRA has for the past several years used the services of Agency employees trained as scuba divers to aid in investigations that involve searching the lakes and rivers of the state for a multitude of reasons related to both law enforcement, and biological investigations. In the past, Agency divers have dove on boating accident sites. They have searched rivers at the request of other law enforcement Agencies looking for stolen property or evidence related to a criminal investigation. They have searched for drowning victims (both accidental and homicide related). And they have searched for lost equipment from both Agency boats and others. Agency divers have also played an important role in the enforcement of state law as it relates to the mussel industry by routinely monitoring those areas closed to the taking of mussels. The training and equipping of selected personnel for scuba diving activities has greatly enhanced the ability of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to respond to any situation that may arise from water related activities, be they biological, law enforcement, or public safety related.

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