Search and Rescue

rescue(1).jpgThe Cochise County Search and Rescue (SAR) Posse has been in existence for 32 consecutive years, with March 2014 being the 33rd year. During the past 32 years SAR has accumulated a successful mission success rate, The direct effect has been to render immeasurable comfort to the families of visitors and citizens, due to the safe return of their family members. Numerous of these missions and recoveries pertained to either lost, injured or deceased Undocumented Aliens having fallen victim to the elements. It is the mission of SAR to be highly trained with good equipment utilizing state of the art techniques.

The mission of SAR is also to meet the needs of the community and to fulfill its obligations under Arizona Statute; the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office maintains an on-call Search and Rescue (SAR) Posse. SAR encompasses two equally important sections. Component one consists of five (5) sworn deputies; RSgt David Nolan, RSgt Ursula Ritchie, Deputy Rick Cleveland, Deputy Randy Haws, and Detective John Monroe, who acts as the incident commander (IC) during SAR missions. These deputies have received and maintain specialty training in High Angle Technical Rescue, Helicopter/Air Rescue, ATV Instructor, Canine, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Swift Water Rescue. Due to the high volume of missions during the past year, the coordinators have expended 875 hours.

The most important component of SAR is the volunteer, compromised of a county-wide membership of 50 people of varied backgrounds and experience levels. This is a highly cohesive and cost-effective team. These volunteers not only donated 2718 hours during the past FY 2013-2014, they also donated funds and accepted personal risk to provide Search and Rescue services to the citizens and visitors of Cochise County, and continue to do so. The Cochise County SAR has been recognized by the Arizona SAR Coordinator's Association as the outstanding SAR Unit of the Year, Five members have been honored as Volunteer of the Year.

The SAR Posse has a very close working relationship with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Division. AZ DPS Air Rescue Helicopters are available to assist SAR operations, such as helicopter rappel and short haul. The SAR posse is one of the few counties in Arizona qualified to perform this highly technical and dangerous operation.