Who We Are

Under Oregon Law, the Sheriff of each county is responsible for the search and rescue activities within the county. Umatilla County Sheriff's Office's search and rescue team is the Umatilla Search and Rescue Foundation (UMASAR), a non-profit corporation managed by a board of directions. UMASAR's website has information regarding their structure, recent missions, how to donate, how to join, and other helpful information. 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit (UMASAR) 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 aid in medical emergencies and perform many other 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, regionally and throughout Oregon and Washington, whenever needed.



We are always seeking volunteers to join our team. Search and Rescue teams consist of more than physically fit persons who can hike up mountains and carry injured people to safety. Although ground searchers are important to a team, other skill sets are just as important. Skill sets such as drone teams, UTV or ATV teams, logistics and planning skills, documentation skills, radio skills, or even planning and making lunches all contribute to the overall success of a mission.  If you have the heart to serve and are willing to put in the time and training, you can be involved.  If you are interested, check out the Umatilla Search Rescue Foundation website (UMASAR) for more information on how to join.



UMASAR 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 members also provide outdoor survival awareness trainings at local schools and summer camps. Umatilla County SAR responds 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 ATVs, snowmobiles, 4x4 vehicles, and horses or mules. Callouts 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.

Unmanned Aircraft System Program (Drone 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 helps 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 has also recruited additional staff members to test and become certified. We will continue to build this program in the future to help us fulfill our mission to serve and protect those who live and visit Umatilla County. Unmanned Aircraft System Program Policy