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Let me start by saying I understand the frustration, anger and sense of helplessness that I read in the comments, but I believe the quotes used in the article presented a false opinion of our team, the Portage County Water Rescue Team (PCWRT). Allow me the opportunity to be clear on a few of these issues. 1.The site of this drowning was in Mahoning Co. jurisdiction. As per protocol the Berlin FD and Mahoning Co. Sheriff’s Office Dive Team get dispatched first. Then a mutual aid request is sent to the Deerfield FD who in turns activates the PCWRT. This is an agreement that was created after two drownings in the same general location a few years ago, with the understanding that the first arriving dive team would start operations. Even with this proactive response the Berlin Reservoir area is a remote location for both of our teams. On Saturday PCWRT divers had just arrived on the scene when Corey was found and placed into the MCSO boat. These divers were from Ravenna City and Rootstown . PCWRT units from Suffield, Kent, Mantua, Streetsboro and Aurora were still en-route, responding as quick as possible. 2.The PCWRT has worked with and trained with the Berlin FD and the Deerfield FD to help set up for the dive teams arrival. Their primary jobs are to interview witnesses and to identify a credible “last seen point”. So that when divers arrive we can go right to work and it also gives us the best chance of finding the drowning victim more quickly. We understand that the perception of this activity looks like a lack of activity, but we have learned from past experience that “taking this time, does save time once the divers are in the water”. 3.To those free diving to locate Corey, I must tip my hat. Your efforts were heroic, especially since many of you did not personally know Corey. You all are great examples of the GOOD IN PEOPLE. And to think that you took our words as some sort of criticism I must humbly APOLOGIZE. Our comments were in response to a question if any of our members did the same. And they did, a Lieutenant with DFD was one of two people who finally pulled Corey to the surface then to the boat. He is a volunteer and PCWRT team member (not a diver) who was wearing civilian cloths. Each person who went into the water knew the risk and made a decision they could only make, In doing so, no one should judge that decision.As in any conflict we must be open to others opinions while voicing your own. In doing so we try not to degrade or name call others we may be at odds with. As the Team Commander of the PCWRT I cannot sit idly by as my member’s professionalism is questioned or when they are referred to as “derelicts”. We are a team of caring people who drop anything we are doing to help anyone in trouble. To portray anything different is plain wrong. If anyone has any further questions about the PCWRT or our operations please feel free to e-mail us at email@example.comSincerely, David Moore (not Brown)
July 12, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.