SNOHOMISH COUNTY -- Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue has seven specialized units, and one of them involves Mantracking. Washington's Most Wanted's Parella Lewis went out into the woods with this incredible team and got a look at the extreme work it takes to track humans “I would guess for every hour that we’re actually out on a mission tracking, we’ve spent 20 hours of training to accomplish that,” says Bob Brady, head of the tracking unit for Snohomish County Search and Rescue. Tracking is a highly specialized skill that has been around for thousands of years, but it’s been a part of this unit since about 1992.
“We get called to track missing people whether it’s a hunter or a missing child from a boy scout group or what have you,” Brady explains. He has trained Special Forces and hunted terrorists across the country, but his heart is here with Christina, Todd, Janice and the other volunteer trackers. Brady adds, “It’s fun to go off and do all of the cool stuff and everybody wants to hear about that from the trackers, but really search and rescue trackers is where my passion is at, saving lives.” And if you’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest long enough, you probably know their work. This team was one of a few who helped track down the now infamous picture of Colton-Harris Moore discovered at one of his campsites; a selfie taken with a stolen camera. It was one of several items recovered from the fugitive who hid in the woods for months, and it’s just one example of the kind of help they provide law enforcement. Brady explains, “If a person is walking along they’ll drop evidence. If they’ve committed a crime, we can track how the person acted during the time they committed the crime.” It can take years to get certified in tracking, learning to recognize even the smallest detail. But it’s a huge asset for when they get called out to find missing hikers or lost children which happens almost every month. And even though these trackers are extremely skilled at finding the lost, they say there is something you can do to better your odds at being found, and it involves foil. “You just put it down on a piece of cloth or some leaves, and there you have a good example of a left and right foot, and you just put that in the front seat of your vehicle and that will be secure,” Brady says. He also suggests writing down what you are wearing, give the date and time, and leave the information folded up in the front seat. It can make it easier for them to track you, and save valuable time if you are ever in need of their services. Brady adds, “When Search and Rescue comes, we can see that in the vehicle and it will help us identify what track we’re looking for, what the tread on the ground would look like.” The Snohomish County Search and Rescue teams are mostly volunteers. They pay for their own training, time away from work, gas, etc. If you would like to donate to the team or a specific unit, just log onto their website at www.scvsar.org and click “donate.”