Applications Open For Search & Rescue Volunteers

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) continues to be one of the busiest search and rescue units in the state of Oregon. In 2020, DCSO SAR completed 230 missions, which included rescues, medical related missions, training missions, public events and assists to other counties. 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 120 hours of training. The 2022 academy will begin on March 28th with volunteers graduating on May 12th. Generally, training occurs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm-9:30pm, which consists of classroom exercises. Some additional hands-on practical exercises will also occur on Saturday or Sunday. Included in the academy, is a “pack test”, which consists of a five mile hike (2 ½ miles uphill and 2 ½ miles downhill) carrying a 25 lb. back pack. The time limit for this test is 100 minutes.

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. Each academy attendee will be assigned a mentor to assist with the successful completion of the academy.

Applications can be found online at or

The deadline to submit applications is January 7th, 2022 at 5 PM. Applications can be emailed to or mailed to 63333 Hwy 20 west, Bend, Oregon 97703.

Once applications are reviewed, applicants that meet minimum qualifications will be contacted and will attend an informational session. Applicants will be also required to attend an oral board interview. A background investigation will be completed for all applicants who are selected after the oral board interview. SAR applicants must have the ability to fit in with our current volunteers, display 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 Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Special Services at 541-388-6501.

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 five K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves over 200,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 259 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 191 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.

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