Del Norte County Sheriff

Search & Rescue

​​​​​​                                        What We Do

Our Members will:

* search for missing people in the wilderness and along the California / Oregon coastline

* receive a page out for search missions. Sometimes we go out at 0400 in the pouring rain and high winds

* have two general meetings and one full day of training each month

* be medically trained to at least CPR Certified and Emergency Medical Responder level. We also have several EMT’s on our team

* conduct evidence searches for various law enforcement agencies in Del Norte County 
* utilize some neat equipment that has been donated, purchased through contributions, or through the Sheriff’s Office
*  are a 100 % volunteer organization, so we provide all of our own personal gear

* fund raise for specialized equipment (donations are greatly appreciated)
* conduct 30+ operations each year
* assist with natural disasters, and pretty much anything which involves injured or missing people
* go to work or school after searching all night
enjoy what we do

A typical wilderness or beach search is for a hiker that is overdue or injured who is reported by a family member or a friend.  Depending on the location and after getting the call from the Sheriff’s Office, SAR members will be on scene and starting a search. Most searches resolve within 8–12 hours but some may continue for 48–72 hours or longer. All our members are volunteers, they come to searches when they can but family and work come first. 

Del Norte County Search and Rescue uses many different resources. Some of the most common are:

Ground Units
Two or more foot searchers are dispatched from the command post, each unit with a radio and their packs depending on the terrain and location of the search. Teams receive maps of the area, an assignment, and a briefing regarding the subject. They search their assigned areas conducting voice call outs, looking for tracks and other clues. These teams can expect to either stay in the field for extended periods, or go through several shorter assignments.

Search Dogs

Search Dogs utilized can be air-scent or trailing dogs. These dogs have extensive training before they are certified to be used by Del Norte County Search and Rescue. Some are CARDA certified.  An air-scent dog will locate anybody in a certain area; they are excellent for clearing large areas. These teams consist of the dog handler, the dog (of course), and one or more search team members.

Air Operations

Currently Air Patrol is provided to us by the  US Coast Guard, California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire,  and the National Guard. These agencies assist us when conditions permit. They are useful in conducting visual searches clearing large areas rapidly. They use spotters and fly over the search area in an effort to spot clues or subjects. They are also useful when we cannot reach remote areas with our radios or repeater system. They orbit overhead while monitoring and relaying radio traffic from the command post to remote field teams.

Local Law Enforcement Officers
Law enforcement officers are utilized mainly in urban searches.  They conduct a cursory search of the area by putting out a BOLO (be on the lookout) to all their units. They provide us with investigative information and ground support. They are useful in following up on leads turned up by the search teams or by management.

Mutual Aid
Mutual Aid in our area is called
CORSAR. Calls from surrounding areas go out when our search resources are used to their limits. All state agencies have a mutual aid agreement that says, “We will come when you need help.” Area teams communicate monthly and retain a working knowledge of the other teams.