OSI was an innovations developer and a forward-thinking team. OSI first brought military night vision from ITT Night Vision to the law enforcement arena. It was too bad, as it was about this time that we began seeing in-fighting and unprofessional competition begin to creep into the tracking community at large. Individuals sporting “sexy” accents and flamboyant stories about their exploits in other countries began to emerge. The tracking skills had given way to “professional” teams that marketed their programs with a similar appearance to Peter Capstick stories. In those days, it seemed that there were a lot of folks thinking they, like Capstick, were going to walk away from their day-jobs and teach tracking full time. That only worked for a few who were willing to pay the price and nearly live off the land to make ends meet. The rest seemed to thrive on the adventure of seeing who could plant the knife deepest in the backs of their competition.
I share this with you because it is an unfortunate piece of truth and history that leaves an ugly scar on the skins of many trackers who began teaching others out of a spirit of “tribe” and community, rather than entrepreneurship. This lack of self-discipline and greed for recognition would eventually lead OSI to the conclusion that it was better to let the dogs fight and let the dust settle. I’ll share a few pieces of negative history along the way in this site, but for the most part, it is my intention to share positive information and knowledge, as well as the incredible events and innovations that marked the law enforcement and tactical communities forever.
Those days and the selfish ambitions of some ended in the loss of much ground in the emergence of tracking as a recognized discipline in the law enforcement profession. Today, tracking is making a come-back, as there are still those who understand the value and need for the ancient skills. They are not lost, but as it so happened as modern warfare turned to technology rather than human skill and knowledge, tracking did fall wounded on the field. It is my hope and that of a once strong security contractor (OSI) that tracking and other related field crafts will finally emerge and find their way to the forefront of a profession that is now and again under attack by those who wish to raise anarchy rather than freedom.
The following video begins with an intro to OSI’s CQBRS program, which was featured on LETN. It’s an interesting discussion, but I think what is the most interesting here is the fact that tracking and field craft was on the rise. As the winds of liberal doctrine rose in the White House, much was lost and tracking as well as many skills were lost to politics. There was a time when camouflage, mas well as firearms were under attack. The bad guys camouflaged their dislike of being caught with the same BS that is used even today… “it’s too aggressive,” they said… It’s interesting how history repeats itself. We must learn from it and break the cycles.
OSI was becoming known for integrating technology into field operations and tracking. NIght vision was one of the first initiatives, as was the use of Ghillie technology. There’s a special section dedicated to that topic! OSi was deeply involved in the research and development of high-end ghillie technology and the study of camouflage and concealment. You can see here that the optics of what a typical class and training environment looked like was changing by the late 90’s.
OSI determined at that point that a training video needed to be developed and produced, so true to form, OSI stood up a small team to shoot and produce video projects. Eventually, OSINetwork Productions would produce the first actual training video for law enforcement that would follow in the footsteps of the original trackers intentions and training media. The first video OSI produced was sold and distributed by Caliber Press, Paladin Press and others and made a large impact on the law enforcement tracking community across the nation. It also won two production awards! You can see it (full length) and use it for training here and elsewhere in this site: (The first posting on YouTube several years ago had over 40 Thousand viewers! That was a lo-res version. Here is the entire video in hi-res: (enjoy and pass it on!)
As the 90’s came to a close, tracking had made a significant stride forward. Remember, 9-11 had not yet happened. The American world view was till one of safety and security. America believed it was safe and that our borders and seashores afforded us a level of protection in an otherwise hostile world. At that phase of my career, I had not yet been out of the country and tactical operations were limited to rural operations and SWAT (We called them Tac-Teams as well at that time). The American concept of tactical operations was evolving and field craft along with it.
There was much discussion in trade publications and in the community about the “blurring of military and law enforcement operations.” That was a true statement. But, there were many who still resisted the idea that the U.S. was at significant risk in the world and that local and state agencies needed to be prepared to engage toe to toe with the “enemy” or with terror.
It wouldn’t be long before that false sense of security would be challenged and a complete disruption of the ethnocentric notions driving American politics would be shattered. Tracking was evolving along side of the tactical community, but even the tracking community would be disrupted by the ego-centric personalities that plagued it.
While all of this drama was evolving, OSI kept pushing forward in it’s partnership with the Northeast Georgia Police Academy and other Law Enforcement Agencies like the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department in Atlanta. Georgia had become a forward leaning state as it related to law enforcement evolution and advancement. I was proud to be a part of that growth. But, in the end, OSI and the matured tracking programs that had risen over the last few years would be plagued by the greed and self-centered needs of those seeking recognition and personal glory.
A few would remain in the arena as they struggled along trying to make ends meet while advancing the ideas and concepts that had evolved around “Tactical Tracking” and “Scout Operations.” There was a LOT of bad blood between brothers who should have remained focused on the objective, rather than personal gain and recognition.
OSI continued to advance the CQBRS program as well as the basic and advanced tracking curriculums being taught at NEGPA and elsewhere around the state and country. CQBRS had integrated night vision into operations and began developing some of the first approaches to night tracking and scout operations. The OSI CQBRS Team was putting resources into training in the Eastern Pines and Hardwoods, but also, we’d been out west to the Four Corners region to begin dessert training (Mojavi Dessert) and to advance and fuse an emerging relationship with another organization dedicated to advancing tracking knowledge and skills in the Law Enforcement Community.