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Surveillance Skills Class Review
A close friend has taken several classes from a training school called Condition Zero Training Group ([url=""]CZTG[/url]), located in Grand Rapids, MI. Yesterday I went with him to their [url=""]Surveillance Techniques[/url] class.

At the beginning of the day, the instructor (Neal) asked me why I was taking the class. I'm weak on general urban awareness skills. In addition, I was hoping for a new skill set to help me be better set to observe and get away from problem situations before they develop. Plus, it's a cool skill to develop. As my buddy pointed out, he and I spend a lot on training every year. Mostly shooting and tactical skills, some medical, some wilderness skills, lots of martial arts, etc. But no one ever thinks about things like communications and observation as critical skills that don't come naturally to most. These are skills worth developing, and good training is worth paying for.

Neal's class totally delivered on all these fronts.

The course description covers:

"Perfect for fixed and mobile site security personnel, this class teaches the fundamentals of all-weather, day and night surveillance."

"This course includes:

"-Introduction to the surveillance mindset -Responsibilities of those on post

"-Assessing threats -KIM games

"-Introduction to logbooks and accountability -Working in teams

"-Introduction to radio theory and communication -Reporting formats

"-Camera training -Image editing"

Neal -- who is an Iraq II and Afghanistan vet of the 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment's Scout-Sniper Platoon -- tailored the class to our needs and interests. The focus at the beginning was heavy on getting into the surveillance / counter-surveillance mindset, which may have been one of the most valuable aspects of the course. This included strategic issues such as the idea that someone is always potentially watching you while you are watching other people (vividly illustrated by specific examples) and threat assessment and examples of specific threat calculations. The class moved on to structured exercises, beginning with memory exercises followed by a tour through the neighborhood where the class was held while Neal kept up a running dialog and more exercises on memory and observation techniques. We spent about an hour on radio communications and exercises, followed by a long observation, logbook, and communications simulation. We finished with lecture time on camera training / image editing, followed by another lengthy live simulation in the field.

This was a great class from my perspective. My buddy is an Iraq I vet with great observation, woodscraft, and weapons skills. I am just a guy who shoots, hunts, does a lot of martial arts and woodscraft type stuff. We both thought this class stretched us a lot in ways we aren’t used to. The live exercises drove home the fact that systematic observation is really hard work. Even when you know the simulation is going to happen at a specified observation point, even when you know it’s an exercise, there’s always more to see and observe. In one simulation, for instance, we thought we had a pretty complete picture of the subject but Neal kept asking simple basic questions during SPOTREPS (we simulated those a lot) on things we should have seen or logged that drove us to improve substantially through the day. At one point, we logged extensively on what we thought was a highly suspect and threatening activity with one subject. The reality was that we got so focused on the open and obvious behavior that we missed the more subtle but potentially far more dangerous activity in which the subject was engaged. These types of lessons repeated throughout the day and the evening simulation.

I’m not going into a lot of detail because I don’t want to blow the lessons others might get from the “aha!” moments that occur throughout the class. That’s where a lot of the real learning process occurs, and Neal has clearly put a lot of thought and development into these exercises.

My overall impressions of Neal were also highly positive, and I plan to take as many of the Condition Zero course offerings as I can fit in and afford, with the next one probably his precision rifle class. He’s younger than a lot of the Vietnam-generation trainers I have worked with in the past, but he has already amassed a wealth of experience from his combat tours, and he has a great teaching style. The price of the classes is definitely reasonable and I feel I got great value for my money. I’m really impressed and recommend him highly.
It was fun to do that class with you Bro... I'll look forward to getting together again soon!
'sounds like a great class, led by a great guy.

'love it when that happens.

[quote name='ScottyDee' timestamp='1333111811' post='553821']

It was fun to do that class with you Bro... I'll look forward to getting together again soon!


Welcome to the Hoodlums ScottyDee, you might find quite a few people here with similar interests to you. I am glad Cicero invited you along.

When you get a few minutes please head over to Welcome to the Hoodlums and give us a brief introduction. It gives folks a chance to say hello.

Glad to have you aboard and enjoy the time you have to spend with us.

Hopefully the S won't HTF and I pray every day that it won't. It would not be fun.

I have a high art..I wound with cruelty, all who wound me...Archillocus; 650 B.C.
Sounds like a really good class.

If you get the chance On Point Tactical has an Urban Escape & Evasion class which would compliment the surveillance skills class.



Quaeras De Dubiis Legem Bene Discere Si Vis

(Inquire into them to know what things are true)

* * * * *

Scientia Est Potentia
[quote name='Mick Chesbro' timestamp='1333331506' post='553967']

Sounds like a really good class.

If you get the chance On Point Tactical has an Urban Escape & Evasion class which would compliment the surveillance skills class.




I'm so there, as soon as I can free up the schedule. I truly hate traveling to ChiTown (near death experiences resulting from a lack of urban escape and evasion skills outside Cabrini Green will do that to you), but that's one of my biggest concerns when I travel. Especially internationally.
We're glad you made it out alive. Great info. Thanks.

Some thoughts on countering surveilance.
Excellent resource!
Ride life bareback!

"Move to the sound of the guns"

My Orders
My orders are to fight
Then if I bleed, or fail,
Or strongly win, what matters it?
God only doth prevail.

The servant craveth naught
Except to serve with might.
I was not told to win or lose,–

My orders are to fight.

~ Ethelwyn Wetherald

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