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After Worcester Officer Drowned Last Summer, Police Practice Water Skills

WORCESTER (CBS) - Ten months after Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia died trying to save a drowning teenager, officers are getting more water training and equipment - named in his honor - to save lives.

"This is the tube we'll be using in every cruiser," said Worcester Police Lt. John Bossolt. "We have 50 of them right now."

In June 2021 Officer Manny Familia drowned while trying to rescue a Virginia teenager from a lake. The boy lost his life as well. Now, Bossolt said, water training is a priority for the department.

"We're used to dealing with criminals and running after them with guns and knives that could possibly kill us or harm us, but the hidden danger is the water and other things we don't deal with every day," he said.

Each Worcester police officer will have a "Manny Tube," as well as a life vest and rope, in a bag in their cruisers, ready in case of a water emergency. The Manny Tubes can support the weight of two or three grown men.

Familia's cousin, Worcester Police Officer Alex Maracallo, said that could make all the difference.

"They got reassurance knowing that a Manny Tube is behind them," Maracallo said. "That's going to help them get to their ultimate goal, which is to save a potential life."

While police officers get a full day of water training in the academy, there is usually a lull afterward. The Worcester Police Department hopes to provide officers with water training every other year to make sure everyone is keeping up their skills.

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