Search and Rescue

Volunteer Recruitment – 1.1

Recruitment of volunteers shall be conducted by assigned Sheriff’s Office personnel with the assistance of Search and Rescue members. Interested civilians should be directed to team representatives via the Search and Rescue website, to request an application packet or ask questions. 

Volunteer Application – 1.2

A preliminary application form shall be completed by interested civilians requesting to join the Search and Rescue Team. Completed applications must be submitted to the appropriate Search & Rescue recruitment team member (See Contact List in Chapter 8.0)

Applications submitted to the Search & Rescue recruitment team member will be reviewed for completion and forwarded to a background investigator.

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Volunteer Entry-Level Requirements – 1.3

All persons applying for the position of a citizen volunteer must complete the office authorized application process. The following entry level requirements must be met:

  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no pending misdemeanor or felony court cases
  • Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
  • Be a legal resident of the United States
  • Posses a valid California drivers’ license
  • Pass an oral interview
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Attend and complete the required training set forth in this manual
  • Agree to meet and maintain compliance with Search & Rescue Operating Procedures stated in this manual.

Applicant Disqualification – 1.4

Should an applicant fail to meet Sheriff’s Office standards, the Search and Rescue Team’s sergeant-level supervisor shall be responsible for sending a disqualification letter to the applicant.

The preliminary application form and a copy of the disqualification letter shall be kept in the applicant’s temporary file for a period of one year.

Application Process – 1.5

Applications are accepted for a set period, once a year, beginning November 1st and ending January 15th. All citizens interested in becoming a volunteer with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office have the prerequisite of submitting a preliminary application to the Search & Rescue recruitment member and completing the following before May 1st:

  • Initial background investigation
  • Oral Interview
  • Office application approval

Oral Board Interview – 1.6

A structured oral board interview shall be conducted for all applicants that have submitted a preliminary application, attended a Search and Rescue introduction meeting and passed a preliminary background investigation conducted by a Sheriff’s Office member.

The interview board should consist of:

  • Law Enforcement representative(s) from the Sheriff’s Office
  • Volunteer representative(s) from the Search & Rescue team

Applicants that are successful with the oral interview may continue in the application process.

Swearing-In Ceremony – 1.7

An Oath of Allegiance shall be administered to all new probationary members at the time they are appointed to the Search and Rescue team as a volunteer member. Following the ceremony new members shall be issued their volunteer ID card and uniforms.

The Sheriff, or designee, shall personally administer the oath as required by the Government Code specific to “Disaster Service Workers”. 

If a volunteer applicant refuses to take the Oath of Allegiance, the Search & Rescue Team Commander shall be notified. The applicant shall be informed of their disqualification.

Resignations / Terminations – 1.8

Team members may resign at any time with notification to the Team Commander. Team members must surrender their issued identification, keys, and equipment to the Team Commander.

Volunteers terminated from the team must immediately report to the Team Commander and surrender their issued identification, keys, and any equipment.

In addition to filling out the application, please complete the following forms and forward to