News Flash


Posted on: January 13, 2022

Whether there’s rain, sleet or below zero temperatures. Rice County Dive Team stays prepared

Dive team 2 - Joe

On a day when even the hardiest of Minnesotans would rather stay inside, the Rice County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was out in the elements; preparing for a call they hope never comes in.

Team members ignored the thermometer, headed just west of Faribault and set themselves under the County Road 12 bridge that crosses the divide between Wells and Cannon lakes. It’s been this way for nearly a decade: the 12-member dive team practicing and preparing, often during the worst of conditions -- just in case. 

The team is called out infrequently, though the county’s aptly labeled “wild and scenic” Cannon River, the Straight River and its two dozen beautiful lakes mean the need for trained responders is ever present.

The team, now in its 10th year, began when the Faribault team disbanded. Several of its members, understanding the necessity, connected with then-Sheriff Troy Dunn and got the OK to create a team under the auspices of the Rice County Sheriff’s Office. 

Most members -- divers Nate Hanson, Derek Estrem and Colbey Hullett, and tenders Steve Bauer, Nate Budin, Mac Malecha (who also does sonar) and Chief Deputy Joe Yetzer -- are Rice