The Gray County Sheriff’s Office recently partook in a Law Enforcement Man tracker Course taught by Spearpoint Group. Spearpoint Group is a professional organization that offers training courses to law enforcement, military, and civilian clients.
The three-day course, consisting of 24 hours of training, was aimed towards teaching the officers visual man tracking such as checking for signs where someone had walked and which area they went. This can be used for fleeing people and missing people.
GCSO sent six officers to the training. Of the officers, Tyler Jernigan, Tim Reeves, and JC Skinner spoke about their experience taking the course.
“Spearpoint Group has different levels for the man tracker course. This was level one,” Skinner said. “We have intentions of bringing them back in six months to do the level two training.”
For Officer Reeves and Officer Jernigan, this was their first time taking this specific course.
“It was great and I learned a bunch of stuff,” Reeves said. “We learned about footprint makings such as determining when they get off the dirt. For grassy areas, we were taught to look for broken branches to determine the direction of travel.”
“It was intriguing to learn the science behind it,” Jernigan said. “The natural movements of the human body across open terrain, how to track people using the sunlight, shadows, and different lighting sources.”
As well, GCSO involved their canine officers in the training. The canine officers have experience in tracking and apprehension so it was only natural for them to be involved in the course.
“Even though we usethe dogs, we still track as a team,” Skinner said. “It would be a lot more productive for us if the people with us also know what we are looking for instead of just following the dogs.”
The course is just one of the many pieces of training GCSO sends officers. On top of the basic training that every officer must take, GCSO heavily encourages their officers to take advanced training courses.
“One of our deputies got his EMT License and took a Basic Special Weapons and Tactics course,” Skinner said. “He was certified as a Basic SWAT Operator plus a Tactical Medic.”
Jernigan spoke about his experience taking different training courses.
“This year, I went through a 240-hour canine course with my new dog. Around two weeks ago, I went to a 40-hour canine course taught by Los Angles Police Department in Amarillo,” Jernigan said.
Reeves exclaimed that the courses help immensely in his line of work.
“We’ve been to Basic and Advanced SWAT courses,” Reeves said. “We’ve been to hostage rescue training courses. Learning what to look for and the movements, it has made things a lot easier. Having the level two and three courses are going to help us out because we will meet with a team and he will have the dogs. While one of us is tracking, the other can cover us.”
Skinner elucidated the main reason behind sending GCSO Officers to different pieces of training.
“There is all kind of stuff that comes up and if we have anyone interested in that particular class, they can put in a request for it,” Skinner said. “We do everything we can to get them to the training.”