The Underwater Response and Swiftwater Team's primary duties and responsibilities are the protection of life and property, crime prevention, and apprehension. This is often accomplished by searching the waterways of Charleston for evidence and articles related to crimes as well as providing an armed Law Enforcement Swiftwater Rescue team to respond during storms and flood incidents.
These activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
Providing Emergency Response Dive support for any law enforcement agency or US Government agency when requested.
Search for and recovery of criminal evidence, and accurate presentation of same in court.
Recovery and salvage of various types of transportation vehicles involved in accidents.
Hosting training activities for Dive and Swiftwater personnel from other agencies (URST maintains Dive and Swiftwater Instructors on staff).
Flood and Storm Swiftwater and Water Rescue and recovery.
The secondary purpose of the Underwater Response and Swiftwater Team is as a support unit in the area of all water or diving- related activities. The team's divers are certified through Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI). The team facilitates this by using a variety of search patterns, side scan sonar, and sophisticated underwater equipment such as the Videoray Remotely Operated Vehicle with camera and sonar capabilities. The Team also uses hand-held sonar to locate objects in the water.
The team is also a fully certified Swiftwater Rescue Team and is activated for storms and flooding when the need for rescue is determined. In most instances, they work directly with the Charleston Fire Department Swiftwater unit. The Team is one of the only armed police rescue teams in South Carolina.
The motto of the team is "Domum Eos Ferentes", which in Latin means, "We bring them Home." Whether locating a victim of a tragedy or saving someone during a flood, the URST is dedicated to bringing them home.