Governance & Membership

GSSD operates under the Bylaws of our Articles of Incorporation. Membership, training, deployment, and mission standards and protocols are managed through a set of guidelines and policies that are revised when applicable.


Our mission as a nonprofit is to provide, as a free public service, trained canines and handlers for search and rescue efforts to visitors and people of Pierce County, and Washington State, in cooperation with local law enforcement, Tribal nations, and other agencies on a twenty-four-hour basis, while providing continuous training and education to our team to ensure a competent, capable, and professional response in times of need.


Promoting the abilities of trained and proven canine search teams as assets to emergency search and rescue operations.


  • Development: Fostering team growth through shared knowledge and maintaining team skills needed to work in search and rescue.

  • Teamwork: Supporting team members equally, without bias, and with mutual respect in order to provide competent, cohesive, and capable service.

  • Dedication: Volunteering personal time to train and to respond to emergency situations 24/7, 365 days a year as a team.

  • Professionalism: Commitment to the integrity and standards required of emergency responders, while remaining accountable for one's actions in all interactions while representing the organization internally or externally.

  • Advocacy: Providing education and outreach to encourage basic wilderness safety and stewardship of our natural resources.

It is our duty to ensure our team is welcoming, supportive, and inclusive to all groups. We will not tolerate or perpetuate discrimination or bullying of any kind internally or externally.

2022 Board of Officers

President: Jon Scherer

Secretary: Klaudina Pasko

Treasurer: Ken Koernke



There are five classes of membership within GSSD. Membership status impacts a member's ability to vote on GSSD matters. Only Apprentice and Ready Searcher classes in good standing are allowed to vote and considered part of a decision-making quorum:

  1. Candidate (Non-Voting),

  2. Apprentice Searcher (Voting),

  3. Ready Searcher (Voting),

  4. Honorary (Non-Voting),

  5. Inactive (Non-Voting).