The County Press

Area rescue workers learn tracking skills



Fernando Moreira, 58, has been tracking people since he was 16. Over the weekend he shared those skills with SAR team members at Camp Lael in Oregon Township. Photos by Phil Foley

Fernando Moreira, 58, has been tracking people since he was 16. Over the weekend he shared those skills with SAR team members at Camp Lael in Oregon Township. Photos by Phil Foley

OREGON TWP. — Search and Rescue teams use FLIR (forward looking infrared), GPS, drones and robots to locate their targets, but Fernando Moreira believes there’s still a place for a technique as old as hunting itself.

The Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team brought in Moreira, a professional tracker from Nevada, over the weekend to teach SAR Tracker I.

The class, said Lt. Bruce Osmon, who heads up the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team, included four hours of classroom work and 16 hours of field work. The class helped prepare SAR members for urban, rural and night tracking under “ideal” conditions.

Moreira, whose father and grandfather were trackers, joined the Portuguese Army in 1974 and honed his skills in Angola fighting against the Cubans and Russians.

Since then he has trained trackers from search and rescue teams, law enforcement officers, military personnel and outdoor enthusiasts across the United States and in several foreign countries. He’s a Nevada Peace Officers Standards and Training certified investigative tracker, as well as the designation of certified instructor.

Sandra Shattuck of Dryden, a member of the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team, uses a flashlight to highlight the details of a footprint during man tracking training at Camp Lael.

Sandra Shattuck of Dryden, a member of the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team, uses a flashlight to highlight the details of a footprint during man tracking training at Camp Lael.

Osmon said he was able to get Moreira to come to Lapeer for just the cost of airfare. He was able to put together a weekend at Camp Lael for just $125 per student. It was the third time the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team has used the camp for training. Osmon said the camp staff was “just awesome.”

The class, which was limited to 30 people, drew SAR team members from Canada and Ohio.

“We don’t do this (man tracking training) in Canada,” said Jason Rose, a member of St. Johns Ambulance in London, one of three volunteer SAR teams in Canada.

Jason Rose and other members of St. Johns Ambulance drove in from London, Ontario Canada to take Fernando Moreira’s three-day man tracking class.

Jason Rose and other members of St. Johns Ambulance drove in from London, Ontario Canada to take Fernando Moreira’s three-day man tracking class.

Orange-clad members of the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team lean in as Fernando Moreira points out the story a footprint can tell.

Orange-clad members of the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team lean in as Fernando Moreira points out the story a footprint can tell.

Members of the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team lean in as Fernando Moreira points out the story a footprint can tell.

Members of the Lapeer County Mounted Search and Rescue team lean in as Fernando Moreira points out the story a footprint can tell.