Few things are as traumatizing to a community as a report of a missing child.


For STAR 1 Search and Rescue members, the experiences of the abducted children in Evansdale and Dayton, is what drives them to improve their skills. One step on that pathway, is their sponsorship of an abduction response workshop, on May 8-9, at Prairie Moon Winery.


The workshop will focus on child abduction incidents and is specifically for search and rescue teams and local law enforcement. A quick and effective response in the first few hours of an abduction incident is critical.


Participants will learn strategies, tactics and management skills to better prepare for a rapid response to an abduction case. Ken Birt, the STAR 1 President, said, “In an abduction case, time is of the essence. Law enforcement and our organized search team need to know what to do immediately. This class will prepare us for that.”


The instructor, Michael St. John, has been a member of the Marin County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team since 1979, and has been the Unit Leader for the team since 1989. The Marin County Sheriff’s SAR Unit has 100 members and responded to over 50 missions in 2018 throughout California. He has also worked as a Level II Reserve Patrol Deputy with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.


St. John has played an integral role in the development of the abduction search strategy curriculum, which has been published in “Managing Missing Persons in the Urban Environment.” He is a nationally recognized instructor for searching for victims of predator abductions and also teaches courses in abduction search operations for the California State OES Law Enforcement Branch.


STAR 1 Search and Rescue, a local volunteer organization based in Story County, routinely supports law enforcement when they are searching for lost and or missing persons. Through monthly training sessions, the team learns how to integrate ground searchers, K9 teams, equine teams, drone teams and search management resources.


Keith Morgan, Story County Emergency Management Coordinator, said, “We are very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers willing to invest their time and money to provide our community this valuable service. Their willingness to help, goes well beyond Story County, with calls for assistance from Tama, Marshall, Blackhawk, and Polk County. I know they are always looking for more members or financial donations to support their efforts.”


Those interested in learning more about what Star 1 Search and Rescue does or if you would like information on joining the team, please contact Ken Birt at president@star1.org. You can also find information at www.Star1.org or on Facebook, Star 1 Search and Rescue in Iowa.