Guilford County Sheriff’s Office underwater recovery team spends hours training to help solve crimes

JAMESTOWN, N.C. -- FOX8 viewers called the station, curious about dive crews they spotted on Penny Road Bridge Thursday afternoon. They saw the Guilford County Sheriff's Office Underwater Recovery Team there for hours.

FOX8 wanted to know what was going on.

Turns out, it was just training. But while there, FOX8 learned a lot about how dives can help solve serious crimes in Guilford County.

Divers went very deep into the water under Penny Road Bridge. The water is pitch black and tough to navigate.

But it's important that members of the Underwater Recovery Team can find what they're looking for when they're called out to crime scenes.

"Because it's dark water, we have to have special skills, so we can search in the dark water so that we can really help solve crimes and give closure on things that they're looking for," says Sgt. Larry Gritton, the Dive Team Leader.

It also takes a lot of work and training to figure out how to navigate water that can be up to 50 feet deep.

"If we have information on stolen property that was thrown off a bridge or in a lake or pond, we'll get called out to recover it," Sgt. Gritton said. "Unfortunately, we've found homicide weapons thrown in."

It all helps law enforcement get criminals off the streets.

"The evidence we find, we give to detectives and they follow up with that. It helps us to solve crimes," he said. "[We] track down owners, track down victims, and helps put the big picture together."

But some days, like Thursday's training, they just don't find much.

Sgt. Gritton says if you're ever wondering if something is a crime scene or training, just to ask. If it is a training, they are always willing to answer a few questions.

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