SAR Coordinator’s Note

WP KovarAs the Team has closed out 2013 I want to take a moment to thank each and every SAR member for their incredible contributions to the SAR Team and the Office of the Sheriff this past year.  SAR Team members contributed over 45,000 hours of service to the team and the community you serve in 2013.  This contribution equates to over 20 full time positions in the Office of the Sheriff. This is a salary equivalency of over $2.5 million dollars. 

The SAR Team participated in 53 missions, countless medical details, PR details and other special functions through-out the year.  In accomplishing the above, the SAR Team supported 22 different law enforcement agencies in and around the county.  Additionally, the SAR team responded to 12 mutual aid call outs outside of Contra Costa County.

There were many noteworthy callouts, starting with the New Years Day epic carryout of a rescued hiker in the hills of Marin. There was a multi-day search for a naked 6’ 8” tall man in Sonoma County in the Spring.  We had two team members on separate searches locate a missing subject while en-route to the CP.  Our growing trailing K9 resource continued to see more calls for service.  There was the successful find of the missing 4yo girl in Richmond (asleep under her bed).

On a more somber note, our team assisted with body recoveries in Solano and Nevada Counties. While sad, these searches brought about closure to the missing person’s families. 

In 2013 the team continued to assist with evidence searches helping local agencies with personnel and expertise. One event included the eradication of a pot grow on a remote island in the Delta. Additionally, the metal detector squad participated in many evidence searches and successfully recovered weapons and elicit drugs.

In September the SAR Team was tasked with responding to the Morgan wild land fire on the East side of Mt. Diablo.  This was a difficult call and required a very dynamic and flexible response by all.  The team played a critical role in evacuation of residents at risk from the wildfire.

Another disaster related capability the team played a critical role in was the Urban Shield Mass Fatality exercise in October.  Urban Shield tested the County’s capability to respond to a mass fatality event. This exercise proved that the SAR Team is critical to the County’s response to large disasters and has paved the way for future integration.

The above only briefly touches on the incredible amount of work each member dedicates to the team.  But it is a testament to your dedication.

The team is situated and ready for an incredible 2014.  I can’t wait to be a part of it with you.

SARFit!

SARFit!All of us know the benefits of enhancing our fitness level, but did you realize that if each CoCoSAR member could increase his/her walking speed by as little as 10 percent, it would be the equivalent of adding 23 fully trained and experienced searchers to the team?  That’s a big bonus for the team.

With that in mind, team member Reza Farasati has stepped up to encourage and organize fitness activities for team members with a new fitness program, (SARFit!) for CoCoSAR members.

The goal of the program is to help members at all levels reach a higher state of fitness.  SARFit! is designed to do two simple things: Provide members with a variety of fun fitness opportunities – from hikes, to bike rides, to backpacking, to snowshoeing; and to encourage members to enhance their personal fitness levels.

The program is completely voluntary and will require prospective participants to “opt in” by emailing Reza with their interest.  Opting in will then put that member on the list to receive regular emails with brief descriptions (what, where, when and fitness level/intensity) of activities that may be of interest. There will be no pressure: It’s totally up to the individual to decide in which activities to participate.

RezaReza will serve as the collector and distributor of fitness opportunities – team members may send him details of activities they think would be good for the program and he will pass on the info to all those who opted in. 

Interested team members should email Reza directly to let him know of their interest in the program. This is a great way to enjoy the benefits of incremental fitness improvement while becoming an even stronger CoCoSAR member – not to mention connecting with fellow team members in a fun and productive way.

This past Saturday, team members engaged in the first SARFit! activity–a hike with some chest thumping hills–after the full team training. Watch a video of the event below.

Team Commendations, December 2013

Peabody JackJack Peabody
Quietly, behind the scenes, Jack has been putting in a lot of work and effort with the MRG Group and preparing MRG members for their ELT recertification testing in March. Jack has organized a training plan to accomplish this and has recruited and trained a squad of team members as well. And many times now Jack has been up early in the still-dark dark hours to go out and station beacons and tracks so the squad can train. A big thank you, Jack!

Steve Filippoff and Tim MurphymurphyFilippoff
Over a year ago, both Tim and Steve began work in training their canines to become CoCoSAR-certified trailing dogs. This past month, along with their canines, they both passed their tests and became certified members of the Canine Resource. This is a huge accomplishment and has required an immense amount of time, dedication and sacrifice on their part. Adding two more trailing canines to our team adds a tremendous additional ability for us to find our missing subjects and/or determine a direction of travel for them. This will greatly enhance our team’s response to an emergency. Well done, Tim and Steve!

wilma murrayWilma Murray
Wilma led an excellent and energized group of team members that produced our recent SAR holiday party last month. She led the effort from the very first Social SAR meeting in early 2013 to the very end of the event in December. It was a great success! Wilma was also a leader in helping many fellow team members out in recertifying their EMR certification by organizing skillset training prior to testing. Well done, Wilma.