MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of the Michigan Professional Search and Rescue (SAR)
Council is to provide the state with a recommended standardization program for civilian
dedicated Search and/or Rescue trained teams. The goal is to ensure Michigan Law
Enforcement agencies that teams meet the standardization criteria and maintain high quality
training to create proficient and professional search teams.
HISTORY: In 2015 the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Sheriff’s
Association were approached by a representative from a civilian canine search and rescue
organization advocating for the state to establish training standards for civilian canine search
and rescue teams. Michigan currently has several civilian SAR teams throughout the state that
are comprised of canine teams, ground teams and search management teams that are
underutilized by law enforcement agencies. Why? There may be several reasons why and
whatever those reasons are, it is time that agencies start utilizing the services that these teams
In 2016, a Law Enforcement Committee was formed to begin looking into what these standards
should be. The committee is comprised of representatives from the Michigan Chiefs of Police,
and the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. This document establishes the minimum training
standards recommended by this committee for civilian SAR teams.
Questions arose when the Law Enforcement Committee met which had to be resolved. Some
of those questions were, what will the training standards consist of? Once established, how will
the standards be enforced? Who will be the certifying agency?
The Committee quickly recognized that, because of staffing issues, it would be difficult for law
enforcement agencies to be responsible for training and certifying the teams. The Committee
knew of several national and international organizations who currently offer these services.
The Committee decided that the training and certifying standards of these organizations should
be evaluated and, if acceptable, adopted for use in Michigan.
In April of 2017, the LE Committee met with over 30 individuals representing SAR teams
throughout the state. This was the first time in several years that these teams came together
for a common goal – to develop training standards for civilian SAR teams in Michigan. From this
meeting subcommittees were established to look into and evaluate national organizations that
have training and evaluation standards for canine, ground and search management SAR teams.
The teams met again in July and October of 2017 and adopted several training standards for
civilian SAR teams as well as selected the name of “Michigan Professional Search and Rescue
Council” as its official name. The Council operates under the direction of the Law Enforcement Committee.