Search and Rescue

Mission Statement
The mission of the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit is to perform an invaluable service to the community by providing a professional, well-trained, organized, mostly volunteer search and rescue team that is devoted to helping lost and missing persons, overdue hunters, stranded motorist, and others. They also provide aid in medical emergencies and perform many other types of search and rescue missions. SAR team members also assist our UCSO deputies and other law enforcement agencies at major crime scenes and are available to assist search and rescue teams in other jurisdictions, both regionally and throughout Oregon and Washington, whenever they are needed.


We are always seeking volunteers to join our team. Umatilla County SAR provides the required basic training. To become certified, the applicant must successfully complete the required training and maintain 30 hours per year of continuing education in a field related to search and rescue, which is approved by the Sheriff and SAR coordinator, such as:

» Emergency Survival Skills and Equipment

» Radio Communications

» Land Navigation, GPS Operation

» Crime Scene Security

» Search Organization and Management: Search Techniques, Man Tracking, Searcher Safety, Incident Command System, and Rescue Techniques

» Helicopter Safety

» Wilderness Medicine

» CPR/First Aid

Training may include monthly meetings, weekend outings during the year, and outside trainings with other agencies. The outings provide practical experience through the use of mock searches, tracking exercises, map and compass exercises and ATV operation. Outside training is available through statewide courses, managing search operations schools, mountaineering and other specialized classes. SAR member also provide outdoor survival awareness trainings at local schools and summer camps. Umatilla County SAR respond to 15 to 20 calls per year, and may spend anywhere between 4-5 hours to 2-3 days on a mission. SAR’s commitment involves time and money to become properly equipped and trained for the unique challenges they will face. Members donate the use of their personal equipment including ATV's, snowmobiles, 4x4 vehicles, and horses or mules. Call outs can frequently occur during harsh conditions, and volunteers are required to be prepared with the proper clothing and equipment for any weather conditions encountered on a search.

UCSO SAR recommends these basic essentials for survival: Candles with matches in a waterproof container, or a full lighter, flashlight with spare batteries, extra food, water, clothing for rain, wind and water protection, pocket knife, navigational aids (maps, compass, GPS, charts, radio or cell phone, fully charged), first aid kit, large garbage bag for emergency shelter and sun protection, glasses, sunscreen, or hat.

SAR Advisory Board:

Dwight Johnson, Bob English, Jan Good, Lacey Wilson, Kevin Scheibner, Tom Phelan

Contact Us:

Sgt. Dwight Johnson, Supervisor, (541) 966-3611
Jan Good, Coordinator, (541) 966-3635
4700 NW Pioneer Place, Pendleton, OR 97801
(541) 966-3600

SAR Calendar

Unmanned Aircraft System Program

On October 19, 2016 Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office announced their Unmanned Aircraft System (drone) Program for Search and Rescue, Emergency Management and other purposes. Drone technology is helping public safety agencies find missing people faster and can provide assistance to distressed victims in many types of disaster incidents. During a search and rescue mission, this tool will help us view a much larger area much faster than with traditional methods, and can direct ground searchers and provide aid to a victim more quickly, which can help save lives. UCSO consulted for several months with Steve Chrisman and recently, Darryl Abling and their staff at the Pendleton UAS Range for advice and direction on how to use drone technology. They continue to be a great source of information and support! Sergeant Dwight Johnson is managing the program, and has obtained a Remote Pilot Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration after successfully completing all testing and requirements. Umatilla County Sheriff's Office is in the process of recruiting additional staff members to test and become certified. While our program is in its infancy, we hope to build a robust program in the future that will help us fulfill our mission to serve and protect those who live and visit Umatilla County.
Unmanned Aircraft System (drone) Program - Information and Video