Search and Rescue Council reimburses $164k to counties

The Wyoming Search and Rescue Council met May 30 in Riverton to consider 12 county sheriffs’ requests for reimbursements for search and rescue costs. The council approved $163,856.73 in eligible mission costs.N1211P48013C-[dollar]Wyoming Search and Rescue funds are predominately provided by donations when individuals purchase fishing, hunting and off-road recreational licenses.“Making that voluntary donation when you purchase your recreational license is vital to the success of the program,” Director Guy Cameron, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, said. “The dedication of the county sheriffs and their search and rescue teams combined with the generosity of the public provide the means to fund essential search and rescue missions.”The fund had a balance of about $724,000 prior to the May 30, meeting. The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security is the fiscal administrator of the funds per Wyoming Statute §19-13-301. The goal of the Wyoming Search and Rescue Council is to assist Wyoming sheriffs, who are charged by state statute to conduct search and rescue operations, by fostering quality search and rescue resources throughout the state and providing reimbursement for eligible expenditures.The council is comprised of 11 members to include county sheriffs, citizens, county commissioners, and the director of Homeland Security, and meets semiannually. Council members are appointed by the governor. The other semiannual meeting is dedicated to addressing policy and procedures, and equipment and training needs.The council approved approximately $226,000 in reimbursements in 2012.There were 301 missions conducted in 2012, compared to 312 in 2011 and 259 in 2010.During the meeting the council approved reimbursements to county sheriff departments including $2,640.35 to Big Horn County.Sheriff Ken Blackburn said the council denied about $400 in maintenance items and fuel. He said maintenance is not allowed as reimbursed expenses and fuel must be purchased within 24 hours of an incident.Blackburn said the $2,640.35 was for the entire year. He said his clerks log reimbursable expenses after each incident and that is submitted annually. Big Horn County had 20 search and rescue missions in 2012.He said the funding will be split between the two units.