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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Search & Rescue Squad Trains at Mast Park

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mary Ann and Tom Bennett with Cody
What looked like a massive search and rescue operation this morning at Mast Park was actually a training exercise involving some 20 volunteers, nine rescue dogs, several uniformed deputies and a mobile command unit from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
The training allows the rescue volunteers and dog handlers to sharpen their skills and to qualify as expert witnesses for court cases, said Sgt. Don Parker, the team’s supervisor.

In one of the exercises, the specially trained dogs were given the scent from a pair of jogging shorts and were sent across the park to find the person. The dogs included beagles, bloodhounds, golden retrievers and border collies.

Three deputies and a rescue dog from Riverside County also participated. Observing it all as students were four members of the Polk County, Iowa Sheriff’s Department, who intend to create their own rescue team when they return home.

“We’re trying to show the Iowa folks how a real search and rescue operation will occur from top to bottom,” Parker said.
Among the cadre of orange-shirted rescue volunteers were Mary Ann Bennett, a part-time office aide at the Santee City Clerk’s Office, and her husband, Tom, a retired sheriff’s department captain, and their rescue dog-in-training, Cody.

The all-volunteer Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team includes some 190 people who perform wilderness and urban rescues and search for missing persons. Teams are available 24 hours a day to respond to local, state and federal agency requests.

To learn more, you can visit the team’s website at http://bit.ly/leuaZr

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