The Kingsport Police Departments Search and Rescue Team was formed in 2005 and consists of 5 officers. Each officer must attended a TEMA certified visual (man) tracking school and possess skills in both visual and compass assisted land navigation. While the team’s primary tools are maps, compasses and walking sticks they also utilize modern tools such as Garmin Rhino GPS’s and ATV’s to accomplish their tasks.
Training for the team is conducted monthly at Bays Mountain Park. The parks 3500 acres allows for various forms of training such as visual tracking, GPS/ compass navigation, ATV training, and long distance tracking using bloodhounds. The bloodhounds are trained by Captain Mike Roark, of the Kingsport Police Department, and volunteer Dave Austin.
The Search and Rescue team responds primarily to assist in the location of lost persons within the City of Kingsport and its neighboring jurisdiction. However, team members have also responded to assist in national relief efforts such as Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the above listed training the team also has 2 certified scuba divers.