Search and Rescue

Commander DJ York

Office Location  Basement of Law Enforcement Center P.O. Box 12 Watertown, SD 57201

Phone (605) 882-6272


To have a trained team of volunteers to perform search and rescue of persons, assist in the recovery of bodies, assist Law Enforcement with evidence recovery, and promote safety.


  • February 1993 – Pat Culhane and Jay Grandprey agree to start dive team as a result of drowning incidents in the area.
  • April 1993 – Watertown Emergency Services accepts proposal promoting concept of Search & Rescue team.
  • May 1993 – Search & Rescue team organized. Grant equips team with dry suits.
  • June 1993 – Codington County agrees to sponsor Search & Rescue team under Emergency Management. Watertown City Council agrees to support team efforts.
  • July 1993 – By-Laws written, training begins, board members elected.
  • October 1993 – Area merchants purchase 6 pagers for team.
  • December 1993 – Donations purchase 4 complete sets of dive gear for team.
  • February 1994 – Donation purchases inflatable boat and 25 HP motor.
  • March 1994 – Donations purchase underwater communications equipment.
  • April 1994 – Fundraiser to pay for Dive Rescue International training.
  • May 1994 – Sheriff’s Department transfers GMC Jimmy to Emergency Management for Search & Rescue team use.
  • January 2005 – Search & Rescue Endowment Trust Fund established through Watertown Community Foundation.
  • July 2006 – Search & Rescue Support, Inc., a tax exempt 501(c) (3) public charity, was established as a fund raising arm for the team.
  • Present – Codington County Search & Rescue has continued to grow through funding from Codington County, City of Watertown, Watertown Community Foundation, Watertown United Way, Thrivent for Lutherans, Search & Rescue fundraisers, and various private donations from the community and the surrounding area.

Command Structure