Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There Is an Army of Searchers: A Small, Very Well-Trained Army.

As with many things in life, more does not equal better. I had been wondering about whether us distance runners could put our proclivities to productive uses by offering ourselves as a standing army of searchers when there's a missing person case. The person I just spoke to at the Sheriff's office explained that while it's nice that the public wants to get involved (as in the Chelsea King and Amber Dubois searches), just having a lot of untrained people stamping around a potential emergency or crime scene isn't beneficial.

That means it's not a question of just signing up for an email alert and being part of "real" search operations. But, if you do want that training and you're willing to put in the time, you can certainly join the real SAR team. The Sheriff's Department does have training programs (call (619) 956-4990 to get the application) but you have to show serious commitment: starting in January, they have a boot camp requiring 200 hours of training, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings. There's another group, San Diego Mountain Rescue, that (apparently) has a less intensive training schedule and that's having their annual recruitment meeting on 8 September, 7-9pm at the Mission Trails visitor center.

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