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Dive Team - Search & Rescue

Dive Team

Jefferson County boasts the fourth largest lake in the State of Kansas. Perry Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954 and construction began on March 16th 1964. Perry Lake was placed in operation on January 15, 1969 and reached its multipurpose pool on June 3, 1970.

Perry Lake has 11,150 surface acres and over 160 miles of shoreline and is fed by the Delaware River. Perry Lake is used for flood control, Recreation boating, water sports, and fishing. At one time Perry was the top crappie fishing lake in the United States.

Jefferson County resurrected its Dive Team in 2003 when then Sheriff Roy Dunnaway saw the need for a Dive Team after is previous volunteer Dive Team disbanded. Jefferson County Dive Team consists of Deputies and Civilian Volunteers. Divers must be certified by Dive Rescue International before they can enter the water. Perry Lake is a Zero visibility lake so when Divers submerge below the surface everything must be done by feel and not by sight.

Jefferson County Sheriff's dive Team uses state of the art equipment to insure the safety of Divers and surface personnel. Divers use Interspiro Deviator MK II wireless communication masks so divers can communicate with each other and with the surface.

Jefferson County Dive Team has been deployed all over the Eastern 1/3rd of Kansas to assist other agencies with difficult and challenging water recovery. Jefferson County Dive Team not only recovers drowning victims and submerged vehicles, but evidence as well. The Dive Team has worked with other agencies' Dive Teams and High Angle Rescue teams to coordinate the recovery of submerged homicide weapons.

Jefferson County owns and utilizes several water craft to facilitate the Divers and Surface Personnel.

A 23ft pontoon boat for transporting equipment and personnel for water based operations

A 21 ft and 18ft johnboat for fast deployment

An inflatable Boston Whaler for swift water rescue

An Air Boat used for shallow moving water I/E Rivers and Floods

Jefferson County Divers:

Robert Chartier
Tom Ryan
Kevin Wagner
Vinnie Southiere

Numerous Surface Personnel and boat operators are utilized during a Dive Operations.

Additional Information
Undersheriff Chartier

Deputy Tom Ryan


Search & Rescue

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is not unique from other rural counties located in the mid west.

Geographically speaking, Jefferson County is comprised of farming ground, hills with thick woods and underbrush, large and small bodies of water, rivers and streams and prairies.

Each type of physical land attribute presents its own difficulty in searching for missing persons, victims of crimes or evidence recovery. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue includes personnel from Jefferson County Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, Jefferson County EMS and sometimes utilizes aircraft operated by the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Jefferson County uses all types of equipment, from basic Law Enforcement vehicles and tools, to specialized equipment. The Sheriff's Office owns and operates numerous water craft including an air boat, Polaris and John Deere gator type vehicles, an armored Peace Keeper and 4X4 vehicles.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office also has a K-9 Officer that utilizes a dual purpose patrol dog that tracks and sniffs evidence. We recently retired a bloodhound.

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