Search & Rescue
The Kern County Sheriff's Department has an established history of providing top quality search and rescue activity to the citizens of Kern County. There are 11 separate Search and Rescue groups located throughout the county consisting of over 325 citizen volunteers. These groups offer top quality rescue capabilities in the basic areas of ground searches in urban, desert, or mountain areas. Additionally, most areas also specialize in certain types of searches. The groups are:
This unit tackles the tough assignment of assisting with rescues or recovering drown victims of the lower Kern River, in the canyon and in the waterways of the lower San Joaquin Valley. They assist in searches for missing children or senior citizens in all areas of the county and back other units when necessary.
This unit covers the range of Tehachapi Mountains searching for lost hunters, hikers, and airplanes.
These members are no strangers to the rugged and jagged peaks of the Sierra Mountain range. They possess expertise in conquering the cracks and crevasses where adventurous travelers get trapped. They are utilized in rescues on Mt. Whitney and other isolated areas.
DESERT SEARCH AND RESCUE GROUP
The Mojave-Boron-Rosamond unit are utilized extensively in desert rescues. Their familiarity with extreme heat and sandstorms make desert rescues much easier.
INDIAN WELLS VALLEY SEARCH AND RESCUE GROUP
This group is responsible for the almost impossible rescues from mine shafts and other areas within the Mojave Desert. Their expertise is so well known they routinely are asked to assist other counties and states.
KERN VALLEY SEARCH AND RESCUE GROUP
The members of this group are experts in rescue on the upper Kern River and in Lake Isabella. Their trackers are familiar with every nook and cranny of the lower Sequoia Mountains. This group has the distinction of being the first Search and Rescue Unit in Kern County.
SEARCH AND RESCUE DIVERS
These scuba divers work in all the waterways of Kern County. The Dive Unit, made up exclusively of certified SCUBA divers, was first organized with 30 members in 1962 under Sheriff Galyen. Initially, all Search and Rescue divers came from the San Joaquin Sports Divers, a Bakersfield area club which has been in continuous existence since 1948. This close relationship continues today. All Search and Rescue divers are volunteers who donate their time and personal SCUBA equipment. Every member must be a trained and certified SCUBA diver before they can be voted into the unit. Searches conducted for the Sheriff's Department by the Dive Unit most commonly involve the recovery of automobiles and drowning victims from both the deadly Kern River and the extensive network of Kern County canals and lakes. Two Search and Rescue divers have died in the performance of their duties: Terry Greer who drowned in 1973 during a canal search and Chuck Banning who drowned in 1975 during a canal search.
SOUTHERN KERN SEARCH AND RESCUE GROUP
This group works the south end of the San Joaquin Valley. They are utilized in searches for planes lost in the Ridge area and in the winter months looking for victims lost in the snow.
KERN COUNTY SHERIFF'S MOUNTED SEARCH & RESCUE
This group is made up of horse/rider teams certified in 25 skill areas. They are especially useful in hasty search and covering large areas. The riders have a vantage point some 5-7 feet off the ground which expands their view in rural and back country as well as urban settings. Because a horse will react to movements, sounds, or smells not initially apparent to human senses, it enhances the search capability of the rider. The group is also ideal for search perimeter control. Other units benefit from transportation of equipment and supplies by the Mounted Unit. Visit their website at: http://www.kcsmsar.org/