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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Search and Rescue

Amazing, the information one finds when one goes looking . . .

As a result of the tragic events in our little corner of the world (two young girls abducted and murdered, at least one, probably both, raped before being killed) we have come together as a community to make things better.

I mentioned in an earlier email about this Saturday's brush clearing of the hiking trails at Kit Carson Park, in which our Kiwanis Clubs are playing a major role; also the Self Defense Class for Women one of our Kiwanians is conducting.

While I was making the presentation to the Escondido Kiwanis Club (the noon club) to determine whether they would join us in this effort (the answer was an enthusiastic "yes!") one of their Kiwanians brought up a suggestion that both Kiwanis Clubs should perhaps form a Search and Rescue Unit to help out during incidents like this. I promised him I'd check into it and report back.

Well, I have. And here's the report:

Unless you are prepared to commit six months of attending classs two nights a week and at least one day during the weekend . . . it ain't gonna fly. To be certified for Search and Rescue you really need intensive training.

My source, whom I know very well and trust implicitly, told me the best thing for those of us interested would be to take a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course. This also requires training but not nearly the extent of time and commitment that Search and Rescue requires.

But, what I also found, that surprised the hell out of me . . . is that when these hundreds, sometimes thousands of people respond to hunt for a missing person . . . they are not allowed to search in the prime areas. The police and Search and Rescue teams not only will not allow them into the prime search area, they do not want them there.


They're not trained. They're very likely to destroy a crime scene and ruin clues.

You'll see couples holding hands and walking through a field, another youngster skipping along, looking here and there . . . and they are nowhere close to finding anything. That's because the police and Search and Rescue teams direct them elsewhere.

It's window dressing. It gives people something to do to make them feel better, to make them think they are committig to a community good.

It's all a sad farce.

"They won't turn over a rock, they won't move leaves gently, to see if there's any traces of a clue, they'll just generally muck things up. They don't know how to recognize tracks or have any tracking skills; they will likely destroy footprints or tire prints. They, literally, don't know what they are doing and could well cause way more harm than good," he said.

The prime search area is roped or ribboned off and no one, not even the media, is allowed in.

When you think about it . . . it makes sense.

I just never realized it.

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