Local agencies team up with TBI for navigation training

HENDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Several agencies from across West Tennessee joined the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday to train on navigating rough terrain without a GPS or cell phone.

“We’re taking a group of folks throughout the state, representing numerous agencies — everything from law enforcement agencies to EMS agencies, firefighters, paramedics, health department officials — and we’re teaching them land navigation skills,” TBI training officer James Williams said.

Officers and first responders took to the woods to get hands-on training.

“We’re learning how to navigate around different areas, different terrains, how to use maps and compasses to tell where we are and where we’re going,” Jackson Police Department Sgt. Brandon Moss said.

They also learned pacing, position of the sun and using sounds in the environment around them.

“Many of these folks will often be involved in searches for missing persons, be it missing children situations, where you have evidence recovery situations, or even situations where you have an assailant on the loose,” Williams said.

Those methods help in situations where there’s no cell phone coverage or other similar scenarios.

“I’m a lot more familiar with how to use a compass. We rely really heavily on GPS and smart phones, and it’s nice to know how to use a more analog method,” Sgt. Moss said.

“The big thing is understanding resources that are available to them, with respect to maps. There’s a lot of agencies that are willing to help with search efforts,” Williams said.

This is the first time the TBI has hosted the training.

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