Search and Rescue

COVID-19 UPDATES - The summer training academy has been cancelled. Current applicants will be contacted Spring 2021 to confirm interest and begin the process. The next application cycle will tentatively begin February 2021. search and rescue

The Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Explorer Post 877 combines the best of many worlds to offer an amazing program to young men and women in our community.  As a Learning for Life program, Explorer Post 877 offers unique insight into the exciting career fields of Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, and Emergency Medical Services.


This post has an outstanding reputation because of the high personal and professional standards met by all our members. Their skills and services are often called upon by police agencies throughout Oregon. In fact, our Explorers are the primary ground Search and Rescue team for Washington County. Our members are actively involved in Search and Rescue missions for lost people, downed aircraft, and evidence in major crimes.


What Kind of Skills Do I Need to Become an Explorer?

To be an Explorer, applicants must meet and maintain the following minimum standards:



  • Age 14-19

  • Washington County resident

  • Positive community record

  • Good physical health

  • Minimum 2.3 GPA with no failing classes

  • Complete the basic training academy

  • Minimum 2-year commitment as an active member (Note: Explorers "age out" of the program in December following their 21st birthday, so applicants must apply by age 19.)


There are no special skills required to become an Explorer, other than meeting the minimum requirements. New members are accepted once each year during our recruiting season in the spring.


Exciting Training in Any Weather

All new members attend the Sheriff's Office Explorer Academy. This training lasts 12 days and is normally held near the end of June in a collaborative effort with the Tillamook and Clatsop County Sheriff's Offices.


After the academy, our members enjoy training throughout the year during regular meetings on weekday evenings and during some weekends. Training, like Search and Rescue in general, takes place in any weather. This program is a big commitment for any teenager, but the personal rewards are endless.


Training is Physical, Mentally Demanding – and Exciting!

Academy and ongoing training features a wide range of exciting training.  From rappelling to helicopter rescue to wilderness survival, members learn skills that will last a lifetime.


Here are a few of the topics that are covered during routine training: 


Leadership Weekend 2013

  • Land Navigation (including GPS)

  • Man Tracking

  • Search Techniques

  • Rope Rescue Techniques

  • Wilderness Survival

  • First Aid and Wilderness Medicine

  • Patient Care and Packaging

  • Communications

  • Helicopter Safety and Rescue

  • Incident Command System (ICS)

  • Traffic and Crowd Control

  • Personal and Professional Ethics

  • Self Defense

  • Firearms Safety

  • Patrol Tactics

  • Officer Survival

  • Traumatic Incident Stress

  • Criminal Law


A Rich History Rooted in Washington County

Established in 1966, Explorer Post 877 is one of the oldest Law Enforcement Search and Rescue Explorer programs in the United States!


Explorer Post #877 began as a program for young men to view the inner workings of law enforcement so that they could make a more informed career decision.  The program was chartered with the Boy Scouts of America in April of 1966 by then Sheriff Warren "Bud" Barnes.  Explorer Post #877 was one of the first law enforcement Explorer programs and today is one of the longest running of such programs in the nation.


Shortly after the Post began, Sheriff Barnes saw a need for a ground search and rescue team in Washington County. The Explorers were a logical choice.  Since the Post began, the Explorers have participated in hundreds of search and rescue missions throughout Oregon and Washington. Now with both young men and women as part of its program, Explorer Post #877 is one of only a few Explorer programs in the country that fills the dual roles of Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement.



Are You Ready to Join Our Team? The Sheriff's Office is now accepting applications through April 3, 2020. Applicants must be between 14-19 years old, live in Washington County and meet the other requirements listed above.


Interview and Background Check. You will be invited to an individual interview in order for us to learn more about you and your goals. You will also be asked to complete a Statement of Personal History that is used in conducting a background investigation.


Take a Physical Fitness and Ability Test. Applicants must demonstrate that they are physically fit, able to participate in training, and able to perform the physically demanding work of an Explorer.


Candidates are Notified of the Results. We will notify all applicants whether they have been selected into the program either in writing or by telephone.


Remember to Attend Parental Information Night. This meeting is for all new members and their parents.  The purpose is for parents and Explorer Post advisors to exchange information that will ensure our ability to most effectively care for each new member.  All members are then scheduled to attend the Sheriff's Explorer Academy!

Questions? Send us an email or call 503-846-2622


What are you waiting for? APPLY TODAY!