Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue Header


Search for missing people in the wilderness and urban settings.Team members are sometimes called upon to assist with evidence searches.There is a general team meeting once a month and one team training everymonth. There is additional training for people interested in “type 1”,mechanized (ATV), mounted (horse), K-9 and incident management.Team members are trained in medical aid to at least a first responder level(at a minimal cost)This is a volunteer organization so there is some personal cost forequipment.We have fund raisers to help raise money for equipmentSometimes we get called upon to assist neighboring counties with searches(mutual aid). This is provided as a service between all of the counties inCalifornia at no cost to the requesting agency.Most searches resolve within 4–12 hours but some may continue on for 48–72 hours or longer (which would normally end up becoming a mutual aidincident). Our members are volunteers so they come to searches when theycan but family and work come first, we aren’t expecting you to give up yourlife. After all, it is a volunteer commitment.


The Merced County Sheriff’s OfDSC_0165fice has recognized the Search and Rescue Team to be one of the elite nonprofit organizations in finding missing persons and participation in preservation of evidence. The Search and Rescue organization was officially recognized by the State of California on May 5th 1988. Now retired Under Sheriff Blake was responsible for organizing what were then the Sheriff’s posse into a Search and Rescue team. The team consists of over 25 Sheriff’s Volunteers, in addition to Sheriff Sergeants, and Deputy Liaisons in the Search and Rescue team. 

The team today has been updated and modified to become a modern search team which consists of Mechanized units, Canine units, Equestrian, and computer based land navigation skills. The Search and Rescue team is also participated in mutual aid missions with counties across California under the umbrella of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The Merced County Sheriff’s Office appreciates all the efforts and time spent by the Search and Rescue members, as well as their hard work and dedication.

Join Our Team!

Search and Rescue Recruitment Flier 1 Opens in new windowThe Merced County Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting applications for Search and Rescue Volunteer.  The team meets and trains every third Saturday of the month.   Search and Rescue Volunteers will receive training in basic search and rescue techniques which include; use of GPS for land navigation, off road vehicle operations, first aid, and tracking skills.  For those interested in additional training there are opportunities for training in K-9, water rescue, out-of-county mutual aid searches, and incident management.   There are a limited number of positions open.  Interested applicants will need to complete the application and email Lieutenant Ledford to schedule an interview.  Click on the recruitment flier to apply! or click the link below:

Merced Sheriff Search and Rescue Application

 If you are a minor who is at least 16 years of age you may apply to our Sheriff Explorer program.   If accepted in the Explorer program you may then apply to be on Search and Rescue as well.  For more information on joining our Explorer program visit the Explorer website by clicking the Explorer Logo below:

Join the Merced Sheriff Explorers

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If you interested in joining our Search and Rescue Team

please contact: Lieutenant Buck Ledford