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OC Sheriff's Search and Rescue Reserves Featured


It's early Sunday morning and 75 phones ring simultaneously.

A young hiker is missing.

The men and women who answer the call are volunteers with the Orange County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Reserve Unit. It's a drill. But practice is as serious as the real deal.

When it comes to search and rescue, minutes can make the difference between life and death.

Within a half-hour, a convoy of vehicles heads up a dirt road leading into South County's rugged, rolling backcountry.

But the SUVs, trucks and cars don't fan out. Instead, drivers park on a grassy area between forests of old oaks.

It turns out that there's lots of preparation when you're looking for someone in an area that covers miles of mountains, chaparral, streams and cliffs.

It also turns out that the unit has a certain special member that could shave off hours from finding the "victim."

That would be a yellow Labrador retriever named Charlee.

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For information on volunteering with the Orange County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Reserve Unit, contact Brian Clark, professional service responder, at