GTA was formed out of a grass roots effort to further tracking capabilities in Georgia and the Southeast United States region. Many tracking school leaders, tracking teams, agencies, book authors, and individuals were polled for suggestions and insights into how to best form a tracking team. Many times, we were referred to well-established SAR teams who shared their specific insights into their own development as well. After a reasonable understanding of the issues and approaches were understood and weighed, invitations were sent out to over 150 initial persons who indicated they had further interest in visual tracking, as identified after attending Track-Aware and Introduction to Tracking courses at our first two statewide Search and Rescue Conferences in January 2007 and January 2008 (SARCON).

In September of 2007, Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services (JHPTS) was brought in to provide training to several existing students, and a group of new JHPTS students as well.  Next, a separate solicitation was made to try and identify any existing tracking teams or tracking students located in the Southeast US, by sending announcements and invitations out to all identified forums, blogs and mail lists.  All these initial efforts resulted in an original group of 38 persons joining up with the few existing tracking students on a private message board to begin discussing the topic of tracking and to work towards a consensus on key details needed to form a regional tracking team. This became the first group to adopt the GTA name and share in our current mission.

GTA now has a mailing list of over 145 interested persons, more than 90 members on our private message board and over 60 of these members having attended some type of formal tracking training. Combined, GTA members have participated in more than 2,480 volunteer man hours of class and field time.

We hope you have a passion for following sign and the patience and dedication to learn the skill, and will join us in our efforts here.

A brief note about our availability for emergency callout: GTA now meets our SOP requirements necessary for emergency callout as a standalone resource. Since the first, simple “Intro to Tracking” classes that were offered at the first Georgia Search and Rescue Conference in January of 2007, many of those associated with GTA have been applying tracking in the following ways:

1.Improve their SEARCH capability as a trained, and fully track-aware search resource with their own SAR teams.

2. On tracking assignments at actual SAR callouts with their own respective SAR teams.

3.As part of their job as a law enforcement officer, CSI, or other public safety officer.

4. Personal enjoyment, skill improvement, animal tracking, or other casual personal events for fun, exploration and practice.

We as a team have been patient and many have worked hard to improve their skills and achieve independent, third party certification in preparation of meeting this “field readiness” milestone. Our commitment and efforts will increase now as the announcement of our availability for emergency callout spreads. Now we must renew relationships with the county authorities having jurisdiction throughout the state and begin assisting other SAR teams throughout the Southeast United States.

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