In case of emergency, call 911—ask the County Sheriff to dispatch TRSAR.


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Frequently Asked Questions

To view answers, click on the + icon to the right of each question.

What does TRSAR do?

Tonto Rim Search and Rescue was created to assist the Gila County Sheriff in civilian incidents of people lost or injured in the back country. We can only be mobilized by the Sheriff’s Office.

What is required to be a member?

First of all; a willingness to give of your time and energy. Experience is not required, although it is helpful. We will train you in all aspects of SAR that you choose to participate.

How do I join?

You need to attend two consecutive squad meetings and fill out an application that will be reviewed by our Board as well as the Gila County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO). You will also need to attend a Personnel Committee interview. After favorable recommendations from GCSO, Membership Committee, and the Board, the members vote to accept all new applicants.

How much does it cost?

Our dues are $20.00 per year and each member is responsible for their own personal equipment. Cost depends on what you presently own and what level you become involved with. Items needed include clothing (summer/winter), compass, pack, flashlight, whistle, hiking stick and other miscellaneous things. Other items to consider—GPS, 2 meter radio, 4 WD ATV, Rope Gear, PC, etc.

Why do you charge dues?

Dues are required so that each person is qualified as a member. The fee sets you apart from people who just attend meetings without participation.

Can my spouse join?

Your spouse is welcome to join! We have several husband/wife members. Dues for the second family member are ½ price (i.e. $10.00 per year).

Can I participate if I am physically limited?

Yes! Due to the many facets of Search and Rescue, there are always things that need to be done and every person has talents that are valuable to us. Even those who are not able to hike mountains will find meaningful activities in our group.

I have a police record, does that matter?

Arizona Statutes require that the County Sheriff do a background check on all civilian search and rescue applicants. Anyone with a felony record will be declined membership. If you have a special case and feel this should not apply to you, contact the Sheriff’s Office for clarification prior to filling out an application.

Can I carry a firearm?

No, firearms are not allowed on the person of any civilian search and rescue person while on official missions or trainings unless specifically instructed by the Sheriff’s Office.

What about danger of wild animals?

The problem might occur, but in our 40 year history we have never had a negative incident with any animal or reptile. One recent summer there were some rabid animal situations and the GCSO did allow us to carry small side-arms during missions in those specific regions.

How is TRSAR funded?

TRSAR is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and has no public monies; therefore, we hold annual fund-raisers to meet our budget. We also encourage and accept donations from individuals and businesses.

Will I get reimbursed for expenses?

No, with the exception of vehicle fuel used during an official mission. Any other expenses you incur are not reimbursed. They are, however, tax-deductible as long as you keep records.

Are my expenses or time tax deductible?

Yes, with accurate record keeping, your actual expenses are tax deductible because you are a volunteer for a 501(c)(3) corportation. Your time, however, is not a deductible item.

Do you have any paid employees?

No, our squad members are all volunteers. Therefore, all donations we receive are used for the purpose of sustaining and improving search and rescue efforts in Gila County, AZ.

How often do you meet?

Our General Membership meeting is held once a month on the 2nd Thursday. The governing Board meets on the preceding Tuesday.

Where do you meet?

The General Membership meeting is held at The Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Rd at 7:00 PM.  The Board meets at the TRSAR Squad Headquarters building on Lost Oak Lane in Strawberry.

I have no experience in SAR, do you provide training?

Yes, we provide training in all aspects of Search and Rescue. Training is provided generally in our County. However, some specialty training may be held at other locations in Arizona. We offer some type of training nearly every week— some on the weekend and some on weekdays.

Does TRSAR get involved in criminal searches?

No, TRSAR is a civilian SAR organization. The County Sheriff has other trained personnel for criminal incidents.

Are we deputies for the Sheriff?

Because the Sheriff has ultimate responsibility for our actions, we are considered deputies— but only while serving in an official capacity during missions. We are not law enforcement providers and have no authority over other citizens.