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Old 02-15-2008, 07:59 PM   #91
Wldrns's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,851
As a veteran of many SAR searches, I can say that agency cooperation is better now than it used to be, at least for the past few searches I have been involved with. For the most part, the agencies we are talking about are the NYSDEC and the State Police. There are some awful stories from the past about which agency gets the first call that a person is missing, and that agency wanting to be first on the scene to claim the "credit for the quick and successful find". It's a feather (and cash) in the political hat that they go it alone. But I haven't seen much of that attitude in the past few years.

For a typical wildlands search, the DEC sets up an Incident Command Post and is in charge of the overall operation, and the State police join in. The possibility of criminal activity surrounding the missing person may change dynamics. Volunteer SAR organizations are typically not called in until after the first "rotation" (first agency shift or 24 hours).

Each agency will have their own separate planning meetings and different investigatory activities in the ICP, but the DEC will be in charge of the physical search itself. Either a DEC ranger or an experienced SAR volunteer trained in crew boss techniques will lead small groups into the field. As a crew boss myself I have had troopers in my own group during the past few searches. I'll say that troopers on the whole are not very woods experienced, but are nice folks nevertheless (just in case any are reading this).

Every extended search I've been on has had a State Police helicopter with an IR camera flying overhead almost continuously. They often will continue flying for several days, even if the victim is thought to be no longer generating any heat.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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