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About Us - A Brief History

The Sacramento County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) was started in the early 1990’s by a group of dedicated horsemen and women who wanted to use their expertise to help people in need. The group felt that the unique abilities of the horse would be an asset in finding lost persons in and around the Sacramento County area. They coordinated with the Sheriff’s Department to establish a Unit that would meet the needs of the Department and the community. They subsequently established contact with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services through the Sheriff’s Department to be available for mutual aid calls outside the county, wrote Articles of Incorporation as a non-profit organization, and developed By-Laws to establish criteria and direction for the Unit.

In 2000, we expanded our capabilities by adding Ground Searchers and Canine (K9) Handlers in an effort to better serve our community.

Today, the SAR Unit is comprised of approximately 45 SAR-trained rescue volunteers. Once qualified as a Ground Searcher, members can work to become qualified in the other divisions: Mounted and K-9. The K9 Unit has air, trailing, water, and cadaver scent dogs.

The Unit is always looking for eager volunteers interested in training to become qualified searchers. For membership information, call the Unit message machine at (916) 772-5644. send an email to newmember@sacsar.com.

Members provide all of their own equipment needed for their horses, dogs and search activities (i.e. pack, compass, first aid, binoculars, all weather clothing, and survival equipment). The members also provide a vehicle and trailer to transport their horses. Members purchase their own pagers and pay the monthly fees. The unit does have fundraisers to help purchase other needed equipment throughout the year.

The members are trained in CPR, First Aid, Map and Compass, Man-tracking, Crime Scene Investigation, and Search Techniques in addition to their horse and K-9 training. The horses and dogs are required to pass many requirements to insure that they are safe and capable of performing the tasks required of them. The members attend a general meeting once a month and a unit training once a month. At times additional training may be scheduled by the Training Officer and/or the Sheriff’s Department. This training is in addition to the ongoing training and conditioning that members do on their own.

The Unit participates in many public events throughout the year including Safety Fairs, where we distribute information and whistles as part of the Hug a Tree Program for child safety in the woods. The unit participates yearly in the Sacramento Horse Expo, Pet Expo and by doing demonstrations on safety awareness. The unit also teaches an annual 3-day horse and rider training seminar, open to all mounted SAR Units and the public to increase horse and rider safety skills.