Swift water rescue teams from across California train in Tulare County

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- When another law enforcement agency needs advice or help with a search and rescue operation, they look to the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.

They have the largest, and arguably the most experienced search and rescue team in California.

"None of this would be possible without the support of Sheriff Boudreaux. He really has the vision that he wanted these teams to be some of the best in the state, if not the nation," said Lt. Kevin Kemmerling of the Tulare County Sheriff's Office. "We've built that reputation because we have the best equipment and the best training available."

Lt. Kemmerling heads the department's Swift Water Dive Rescue Team. He's also a corporate trainer with Dive Rescue International, and this is one of their advanced diving courses.

After months of planning, the training started earlier this week with light salvage and recovery operations, something the US Navy's elite Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two specializes in.

So they skipped that part, traveling from Virginia for the second part of this course, focusing on swift water diving. It's a discipline that the Sheriff's divers are considered experts in, with experience doing missions at the Friant-Kern Canal and the county's many rushing rivers.

"We're out here on a beautiful California day, being paid to get in the water and learn from similar minded guys, better techniques to keep us safe and keep them safe at the same time," said Ryan Fitzjarrell of the US Navy.

For a team that is at the top of its game, hosting the Navy is another honor and another learning opportunity for the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.

Three other counties also participated in the training: Placer, Nevada, and Stanislaus.
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