Sheriff William Ferris created the Dane County Sheriff's Office Dive Team in 1972. The team was formed to perform evidence and body recovery.
The Dane County Sheriff's Office has authority on Dane County waters for the rescue and recovery of persons as provided by WI State Statute 59.27 (1). To accomplish this mission, the Sheriff's Office maintains an underwater search and recovery Dive Team. The Sheriff's Office also investigates crimes, as well as collecting and preserving evidence on all bodies of water within its jurisdiction. The Dive Team will also respond outside of Dane County at the request of other jurisdictions to assist with search and recovery operations.
The Dive Team is composed of eight members, with a sergeant serving as the team leader. Deputies on the team are trained in scuba diving and recovery procedures. They respond to recoveries on an on-call basis. Over the years the Sheriff's Office has been involved in many body recoveries on Madison lakes.
To become a member of the Dive Team, a deputy must be off of probation (after 2 years of employment). The deputy also needs to be PADI certified (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), SSI certified (Scuba Schools International), or possess an equivalent certification prior to applying for the position. They must also be current with their diving logs prior to trying out for the team.