By: Lt. Bryan Husband, Search and Rescue Coordinator
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is accepting applications from members of our community who are interested in becoming a Search and Rescue Volunteer. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (DCSO SAR) is one of the busiest search and rescue units in the state of Oregon. In 2018, DCSO SAR completed 143 missions and over 300 trainings. Our Volunteers are highly skilled and range from general searchers to those capable of highly technical missions such as Mountain/Rope Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, Diving operations and more.
Selected applicants, who must be at least 21 years of age, are required to complete the DCSO SAR Academy, which consists of approximately 100 hours of training. The 2020 SAR Academy will begin on March 30th, with Volunteers graduating on May 14th. Generally, training occurs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm-9pm, which consist of classroom exercises and is followed up with a day of training on Saturday for outdoor practical exercises.
Academy attendees will receive instruction in several areas including, but not limited to: navigation, tracking, wilderness survival, search tactics, first aid/CPR and how DCSO SAR operates. Included in the academy, is a “pack test”, which consists of a five mile hike (2 1/2 miles uphill and 2 1/2 miles downhill) carrying a 25 lb. back pack. The time limit for this test is 100 minutes. Each academy attendee will be assigned a mentor to assist with the successful completion of the academy.
Applications can be found online at www.deschutes.org/jobs and must be submitted by January 17th, 2020 at 5 PM.
Once applications are reviewed, applicants that meet minimum qualifications will be contacted and required to attend an informational session. Applicants will also be required to attend an oral board interview. A background investigation will be completed for all applicants who are selected after the oral board interview. Some qualities necessary include a flexible schedule enabling mission attendance, the ability to fit in with our current volunteers, a good attitude and the ability to function as a team player. There is a $100 entry fee for those selected, which covers initial Search and Rescue Volunteer clothing issued upon graduation from the academy.
Additional questions can be answered by telephoning the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Unit at 541-388-6501, as well as going online to http://sheriff.deschutes.org/Special-Services/sar/ and www.deschutessearchandrescue.org.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with four K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today lead by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the nearly 190,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 187 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.