Our Mission

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team (CoCoSAR) consists of about 200 professionally trained searchers under the direction of Contra Costa County Sheriff Emergency Services Division. We are all unpaid volunteers with extensive, specialized search and rescue training provided by the team.

Our mission is to provide highly trained search and rescue resources to the citizens of Contra Costa County and other counties, according to the State of California Office of Emergency Services Mutual Aid Plan.  We operate primarily in Contra Costa County but are often called to assist with searches throughout the State of California. Additionally, we provide medical and educational support and evidence search assistance in county, as needed, at the request of the Sheriff.  The team is trained to provide disaster support for the Office of Emergency Services in the event of an earthquake, fire, flood or other widespread emergency.

Mission Ready

CoCoSAR is on call and will respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in almost any conditions. Callouts may involve:

Further Specialties

All of our team members are required to be competent ground searchers, but many pursue the additional training and expertise to provide specialized "resources" often needed on searches. Additionally, there are an abundance of roles, tasks and equipment required to keep things running smoothly and ensure that the team is “mission ready.” After completing the required trainings and becoming experienced “ground pounders,” team members can choose to pursue additional training.

Many team members find that their project management, administration, technology,  leadership or other skills from their “day jobs” can be put to good use on the team.  Team members have ample opportunities to find an area in which to use their expertise or to learn new skills, regardless of their professional background.  All of these roles require common sense, sound judgment and an ability to work well with others.

A Brief History

Over the years, the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team evolved from a small group of eager citizen volunteers from a local jeep club to a full-scale, approximately 200-member team of professionally trained searchers.

The fledgling group of off-roaders, equestrians and Reserve deputies that formed a loosely organized search team in the 1960s was disbanded later that decade. However, in 1974, with the belief that there was a real need for a volunteer team to assist the Office of the Sheriff in finding lost and injured people, a new search and rescue team – soon to become known as CoCoSAR – officially began.

While the science and practice of search and rescue has significantly evolved from the early days, some things have not changed; the team still prides itself in its professionalism and takes the job seriously. Management and technology improvements (and hard-earned experience) have increased the professionalism and team capabilities to new heights.

But one thing remains true: It is the SAR volunteers that ensure the team’s success.