Lake County Search & Rescue Responds To Disbanding

County Commission Unanimously Voted To Disband Team On Tuesday

Mike Johnson, President of the Lake County Search and Rescue team, no longer has his team.

After the Lake County Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to disband the group, Johnson said he still doesn’t know where it’s coming from.

“We’re questioning like everyone else how we could run efficiently and be of service to the county then all of a sudden after 28 years, we’ve been accused of having inadequate training,” said Johnson.

The commission cited a failure to comply with necessary paperwork as the reason to disband the group.

Johnson said the commission asked for training records in August for the first time since the team’s inception.

He also said they were required to complete standard operating procedures, which they were told takes roughly 30 hours to complete.

Without appropriate time or help, Johnson said the team was left with no choice.

“We said if that’s what you require then we will have to step back,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s team is made up of 17 members.

They were used at least seven times in 2016, most notably back in July when a 22-year old man from California drowned in Lake Madison.

Johnson said now that the team is no more, the teams only concern is who is coming to help.

“If they’re relying on Minnehaha County, which is a fine dive team, but they’re 50 minutes to an hour away and when we’re right here, our response time is much quicker,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he believes they kept up with standards, requiring an application and training before any equipment could be used.

Over the last year, thirteen members went across the state and country, such as New York, to complete extrication and drowning training.

After all their efforts, Johnson said they feel the county is abandoning their experience.

“To lose that to the residents of Lake County is a shame,” said Johnson.

KDLT News reached out to members of the Lake County commission Wednesday to comment on Johnson’s reaction.

They did not have any additional comments to make.

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