top of page

Legislation, Laws, & Standards

Badlands SAR has pursued legislation in North Dakota in efforts to better instill readiness, recognition, training, and standards for SAR in the state. 

At present, there are no set or mandated standards in law. There is only a brief portion stating that the chief law enforcement official of a political subdivision is to coordinate and direct search and rescue efforts. (NDCC 37-17.1-28(1).

That leaves an immense amount of leeway and discretion. While unintentional, it does portray that each political subdivision can either focus zero resources to the topics or seek to establish as much as possible. Most, due to budget and available personnel, or small percentage of occurrences or a combination of all, choose to not maintain adequate training, abilities, procedures, or equipment for SAR incidents or missing person searches. This is problematic at best and unfortunately shows almost each time there is a missing person and the public demand or obvious need for a search or other long duration incident of the SAR variety takes place. Our organization is taking steps to help alleviate this while also working to get government agencies to come to the table and become better and more able in the realm of SAR. 

Legislative efforts to date:

North Dakota Legislative Assembly 2021-22 (67th)

Senate Bill 2329

Badlands SAR sought for and was successful in passing SB 2329 was sought to add in search and rescue wording to the traffic code so as to permit the use of emergency blue lights. Prior to this, there was no official titling present and it left SAR teams open to potential liabilities. 

NDCC 39-01-01(2)(a)(13) & NDCC 39-01-01(2)(c)(4).

North Dakota Legislative Assembly 2023-24 (68th)

Senate Concurrent Resolution 4007

Badlands SAR sought for and was unsuccessful in passing SCR 4007 to at first, bring about the North Dakota SAR Act. The act would have placed in law, requirements for a search and rescue response system in the state, established state standards and certifications, made necessary improvements and adjustments to better respond to SAR and missing person incidents and make large improvements overall to benefit the entire state. The draft was met with pushback from the North Dakota Sheriff's Association where we then sought to pass it as a study so that the legislature could thoroughly investigate and look into what we were seeking to do and improve upon the topics. 

Unfortunately, we were unable to garner the support needed still and the effort failed.

However, this was not a total loss. We did receive guidance from several sheriff's that put us on a path to continue our efforts, we have been able to get several stakeholders to come to the table unlike before, and we chose to establish a standards and certification program on our own utilizing national standards as well as those of other states that have been proactive within their portion of the USA.

This is an ongoing effort, and we will continue to press hard to bring about the much-needed adjustments, both in mindset and abilities, so that nobody is forced to go without a proper response.

North Dakota Legislative Assembly 2023-24 (68th)

House Bill 1336

We joined other volunteer SAR teams in support of HB 1336 as it sought to add in search and rescue volunteers to be eligible to apply for and display the red volunteer emergency responder license plates. Until HB 1336, the license plates were only permitted for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. 

HB 1336 passed and was signed into law, and it now allows for our volunteers that have two or more years on the team to have the license plates of which are also a free registration plate, saving the volunteer some funds when they already pay for and give so much already.

NDCC 39-04-10.16


The links below provide all written and video testimonies so as to provide full transparency to the issues at hand.


NASAR is a national organization that is instrumental in advocating for acceptable SAR standards and practices and has been an upstanding assistant to our efforts here in North Dakota.

Advocacy - National Association For Search And Rescue (

bottom of page