Mutual Aid System
The Mutual Aid System is an extension of the concept of “neighbor helping neighbor.” The Law Enforcement Mutual Aid System was established in 1961 and has been used to restore order during emergencies, including civil unrest, and to provide assistance to local agencies during other unusual events or catastrophic disasters. As a component of the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), the Mutual Aid System is based on four organizational levels: cities, counties, regions, and the State. The state is divided into seven Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Regions. The County Sheriff serves as the “Operational Area Mutual Aid Coordinator”. In each of the seven regions, one Sheriff, elected by his or her peers, serves as the Regional Mutual Aid Coordinator (RMAC). Cal OES Law Enforcement Branch has Assistant Chiefs assigned to each of the seven regions for direct coordination with law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs within each region.
The basic concept provides that within the operational area, adjacent or neighboring law enforcement agencies will assist each other. Should the event require assistance from outside the county, the region will provide requested assistance to the impacted county. If the combined resources of the region are insufficient to cope with the incident, the Regional Coordinator contacts the Cal OES Law Enforcement Branch for coordination of resources. A similar plan exists for Coroner and Search and Rescue Mutual Aid.
Planned events, such as concerts, parades, fairs, etc. are the responsibility of local agencies. Any requirement for additional public safety presence should be addressed through contractual arrangements. If any event, planned or spontaneous, appears that it may result in a request for mutual aid or some other special resource, an early call to the Cal OES Law Enforcement Branch is encouraged. A regional Law Enforcement Branch Assistant Chief will work directly with the jurisdiction to assist in plan development and resource coordination.
Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Documents
As an adjunct to effective mutual aid, the branch shares responsibility of the California Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Radio System [CLEMARS]. The CLEMARS Plan documents application for, and use of, the system.
The Law Enforcement Guide for Emergency Operations provides law enforcement agencies with a better understanding of the State’s Emergency Management System, ICS, and provides guidance with law enforcement response to major emergencies.