Interested in volunteering with the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team? 


Search and Rescue is executed under the authority of the Sheriff. The team is managed by both volunteers and deputies and is made up of a wide variety of individuals from throughout the community. Each member of the team is expected to be able to work with and cooperate with their teammates, search managers, mutual aid emergency workers, and the community; communicating in a professional and appropriate manner.


Members are expected to commit to a minimum of three-years; attending regular training on weeknights and weekends, in addition to their own commitment to skills maintenance. More so, Search and Rescue is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week on call commitment. Rain, shine, holidays, and work, team members are asked to search during all times of day across all levels of terrain for uncertain periods of time. Calls often come when most inconvenient.


Search and Rescue teams are commonly activated when an individual, or individuals, are unable to self-rescue because of harsh terrain and difficult conditions. Team members are expected to maintain a minimum level of safe physical ability and to be sober during all aspects of a search and rescue mission.


Search and Rescue missions deal with both general and acute stresses. Each search has risk for emotional and mental stresses. Searches can involve victims of violent crime, serious injury, and death. Searchers are not asked to exceed their comfort, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances can emotionally impact our searchers. Critical Incident Stress Management is a key component of each search and volunteers should be cognizant and mindful of such risks.


The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team is comprised of citizen volunteers and sworn personnel dedicated to the safety and preservation of life. Upon the request of the Sheriff, the SAR Team responds to fulfill emergency and non-emergency needs using all appropriate resources at its disposal. The SAR Team is composed of general purpose resources (people and equipment) and special-purpose resources. Special purpose resources have unique skills and equipment which require additional training, certification, and maintenance above and beyond the standard required of all SAR Team members. Special purpose resources are organized into teams (“Special Teams”) to facilitate the training and readiness of these special purpose resources. All Search and Rescue personnel are expected to maintain the minimum training requirement for the capacity in which they serve.


Search and Rescue works within the Sheriff's Office and volunteers must be capable of respectfully and productively working with various agents of law enforcement.  All Search and Rescue personnel must also adhere to strict uniform and SOP guidelines.


Please be aware, applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of acceptance to the team. All applicants will go through a background investigation. This investigation will minimally include finger printing, a criminal history check, driving history check, and may include a credit check.  Vehicle operators members will also have to provide proof of license and insurance.


Rocco Chappie

Volunteer Coordinator

Chris Hadland

Volunteer Coordinator

John Mizell

Volunteer Coordinator

Kristin Pugh

Volunteer Coordinator

Lonnie Sweers

Volunteer Coordinator


Please keep in mind, this is only an interest form and does not constitute an application with Santa Cruz County Search and Rescue nor the Santa Cruz County Sheriff. We will review submissions regularly and follow up in the event we open recruitment and feel you match the needs of the organization.

Are you in Arizona? 

While we applaud your choice to volunteer with our exceptional team, we are in California.

Check out the Arizona's Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team HERE.