We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Was life just not worth living without Benny’s? Or was it . . . murder?! Seen here is the Rhode Island State Police Marine Unit dive team conducting a training exercise with its rescue mannequin. The scene and the dummy have been seeded with clues for the participants to sort through. And while sometimes a shirt is just a shirt, that Benny’s logo might well be a clue. Or does the crime scene designer plant the occasional red herring.

The mission of this dive team is to assist law enforcement agencies across the state in underwater evidence gathering and recovering bodies. They work in ocean waters, up rivers, and all around the bay. Tim White reports for WPRI on the intensive training required to join this elite crew and the important service they provide. This is an impressive group, and I am very glad to learn that they are indeed getting a bigger boat.

I certainly don’t mean to make light of what is going on here — the recovery of any body means someone is grieving — but cops are also known for their dark sense of humor (a.k.a. perfectly normal coping mechanism) and somebody picked out that Benny’s shirt.

Team leader Sgt. Ryan Mahoney is frank about the difficulties of the job, with local waters being cold and murky   (frankly, I can’t stop thinking about that scene in Jaws when Matt Hooper finds Ben Gardner’s “boat”) and yet this segment may well turn out to be a potent recruiting tool. These guys are pretty badass. As my father used to say, “For people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like.”


Complete disclosure: I was once an above-the-surface Providence Police officer. I look forward to a woman qualifying for the dive team some time soon.

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