Los Angeles County is indeed fortunate to have a unit like the Sheriff's Emergency Services Detail ("Calls of Distress," Metro, Aug. 15). I know of no similar unit in law enforcement anywhere else in the country. As a more than casual observer of the ESD, I have been continually impressed by the skill and professionalism of this elite unit. However, The Times and the ESD are remiss in not mentioning the over 100 volunteers who comprise the seven reserve mountain rescue teams in the county. These skilled and professional volunteers serve the residents of L.A. County 365 days a year--not for $54,000, but for $1 (77 cents after federal and state taxes are withheld).
These volunteer teams bring persons of many backgrounds together to assist the sheriff's search and rescue responsibility within the county. The members are also highly trained; but they do it on their own time. The teams are tested and certified by the National Mountain Rescue Assn. (The Montrose team is one of the few certified cave rescue teams in the entire country.) The teams also bring credit to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department by virtue of the fact that they are called, and respond, to assist other sheriffs and national parks throughout California and the West.