Underwater Dive Unit

2710 West Temple
Los Angeles, CA 90026


The Los Angeles Police Department’s Underwater Dive Unit (UDU) has been in operation since 1957. It was originally assigned to the Criminal Conspiracy section, but in 1990 it was reassigned to Air Support Division. Again in 2000, it was reassigned to the Uniformed Support Division. In 2006, the UDU was moved to Metropolitan Division to increase the unit’s logistical support. Department divers have participated in hundreds of recovery operations in its history and are responsible for the investigation of numerous underwater crime scenes, as well as homeland security sweeps and searches. Divers have recovered significant amounts of stolen property, weapons used in crimes, aircraft, and bodies from various underwater locations throughout the city of Los Angeles.

All UDU members have assigned duties in various other commands within the LAPD and perform the UDU missions as a collateral or ancillary duty. Two of the members, the Assistant Officer-in-Charge and the logistics officer, have a full-time assignment as UDU personnel assigned to Metropolitan Division.

UDU personnel come from a diverse cross section of the diving community, with previous experience from military, commercial and recreational diving. The UDU has four officers trained as emergency medical technicians, eleven certified instructors and most team members are certified rescue divers.

The UDU team personnel breakdown

  • A Lieutenant as Officer-in-Charge and diver, a Sergeant as Assistant Officer-in-Charge and diver and a P-3 as a logistics officer and diver.
  • Twenty-eight underwater investigators/divers assigned in squads.
  • Eight boat operators comprised of two sergeants and six officers.
  • Four Bomb Squad Divers.
  • A Tactical Waterborne Unit comprised of one sergeant and seven officers. These members are assigned to Metropolitan Division, D Platoon.

Underwater Dive Unit Mission

Dive team members routinely dive in the Los Angeles Harbor, the Los Angeles River, City lakes, canals, streams, reservoirs and coastal surf. Their mission is to perform all investigations and other needed police work which must be performed underwater. In addition, the Underwater Dive Unit (UDU) has land searching capabilities via metal detectors for evidence that may be buried or hidden in heavy brush/dense growth areas.  Requests for Department dive resources are made telephonically through the Department Command Post or Metropolitan Division. The UDU is also a leading member of the Port Dive Operations Group (PDOG).

The Underwater Dive Unit provides monthly instruction at the Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center (MLETC) and is a leading member of the Center that trains all Police/Public Safety organizations in Law Enforcement on the water.

 Duties and responsibilities

  • Investigations of all underwater crime scenes in the City or Department jurisdiction.
  • Search and recovery of property and related criminal evidence.
  • Recovery of lost or stolen property.
  • Underwater photography and video documentation.
  • Body recoveries Narcotic or bomb related vessel hull and pier searches.
  • Homeland security/sensitive location periodic inspections.
  • Removal of conditions that pose a threat to life and property, or where City liability exists.
  • Other duties as directed by the appropriate authority.


In addition to SCUBA equipment, the UDU has the following support equipment:

  • The Dive Unit Equipment Truck is state of the art and is call-out ready twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
  • New state of the art 38-foot primary dive platform, new state of the art Command and Control Vessel, Rapid response security vessel and secondary dive platform, and several inflatables
  • Underwater Metal detectors
  • Surface supplied air capabilities for long operations
  • Underwater photography and video
  • Lift Bag/Recovery Systems
  • Sonar capabilities

**Equipment was donated by the Los Angeles Police Foundation**

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