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While training, police dive team searches river bed

In search of buried “treasures,” the Virginia State Police Search and Recovery Team completed a training exercise Thursday at the Banister River Bridge.

“We’re going to find guns, I can smell it,” said First Sgt. Mike Berry of the Virginia State Police.

Berry, who has worked with search and recovery for more than 30 years, said he can sense where the good finds are located. He felt that the Banister River Bridge in Halifax was going to be a good place for his team to get some training and find “something good.”

According to Berry, 11 new members of the team were completing week five of the nine-week school. The troopers are trained in several advanced levels of scuba diving and underwater criminal investigating. 

Thursday the members of the team set up a grid search, as a method to search the bottom of the river.

“My goal is to search the whole bridge today,” said Berry Thursday morning.

As of mid-afternoon, the eight-team members in scuba gear had only found bones of what appeared to belong to a dog, an umbrella and a money bag that belonged to Community National Bank.

 Alas, there was no money inside, only big rocks.

Currently, the team travels to different areas completing the exercise to see what they can find. 

“Just a few weeks ago, we found several stolen rifles in Greensville,” said Berry.

And the search and recovery team doesn’t just do scuba. According to Berry, they also assist when storms hit, and locals need assistance. 

All members are advanced in medical training also.