BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A group of East Baton Rouge (EBR) Parish officials who voluntarily put themselves in life-threatening situations to assist in investigations and rescue citizens from danger were honored Wednesday, August 24.

According to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO), the members of the EBRSO Dive Rescue Team who received special thanks included:

• Darryl Armentor
• John Buie
• Derek Cherry
• Kevin Forbes
• David Grunewald
• Kent Landacre
• Chuck Montgomery
• Darwin Passman
• Jared Ruiz
• Ryan Thibodeaux
• Dillon Thompson
• Chad Parker
• Brian Stewart
• Jeff Sabella

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux commended the individuals above and their unmentioned colleagues who acted in supportive roles, saying, “This group of fearless divers have proven themselves to be dedicated public servants who selflessly dive in dangerous, murky, snake infested waters and swamps in order to conduct rescues and assist in investigations. I’m proud and appreciative of their dedication and commitment to safety.”

The Dive Team was recognized for playing a major role in three operations during 2021-2022. The three events were:

October 2021 – MSAR Divers conducted a multiple-day and multiple-location search for the firearm used to murder State Police Trooper Adam Gaubert. MSAR Deputy Darwin Passman served as the Dive Supervisor and Sergeant Kevin Forbes is the diver who found the firearm in the water.

May 2022 – MSAR responded to the report of a small boat crash on the Mississippi River. According to the report, the boat was capsized and three people were in the water. MSAR, along with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Baton Rouge Fire Department, responded on the EBRSO boat. They were able to locate the partially submerged boat and all 3 people were recovered and brought to safety.

June 2022 – Two teenagers were driving on Perkins Road south of Blue Bayou Waterpark when they ran off the road and into a pond. MSAR divers responded with emergency response agencies including St George Fire Department. From the time dispatch contacted Captain Armentor to the time the MSAR divers entered the water was only 33 minutes. The team did all they could to locate the vehicle and recover the victims as quickly as possible. Sadly, they did not survive.

The EBRSO Dive Rescue Team is trained to perform a variety of underwater functions, including search and recovery for evidence and remains.

It serves as one of EBR Parish’s many law enforcement agencies that routinely comes to the aid of residents who find themselves in need of assistance.