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"The Chase" - On Court TV


Pilot premiere April 11/04, 10pm

Two amateur "fugitives" vs. a team of professional trackers. Can the pair find a hidden $20,000 stash before being hunted down?

It won't be easy. They’re pursued by the best in the business, professional tracker Tom Brown Jr. and his elite team. Brown uses high-tech gadgetry and a wealth of experience to read every move, footprint, hiding place and tiny clue — any of which could foil the fugitives' run for the money. Besides evading the Tracking Team, the fugitives have to find food, water, clothes and shelter along the way for up to 24 hours.

Impossible to win? Just watch!

The Chase
Online Chat: Tracker Tom Brown, Jr. discusses tracking and his new Court TV show
April 9, 2004

Court TV Host: Two amateur "fugitives" vs. a team of professional trackers. Can the pair find a hidden $20,000 stash before being hunted down? That's the premise of the new Court TV show, The Chase: Trackdown, premiering April 11, 10pm ET/PT. Get a preview in a live, online chat with the show's host, tracker Tom Brown, Jr., who is frequently tapped by FBI, DEA, and many law enforcement agencies and whose work was an inspiration for the movie The Hunted.

Court TV Host: Welcome, Mr. Brown, thanks for being our guest today.

Tom Brown: Hi. Thank you very much.

Question from A: Well, here we go -- the chase is on!

Question from soccermom: What will the "contestants" have as far as money, etc. to use to run?

Tom Brown: That's really up to the producers. I simply go out there to help with the tracking.

Question from flint: In your books you talk about moving 'out-of-context' to become invisible. Can you explain that further or give an example. Maybe tied into the show?

Tom Brown: It would take me three days to fully explain that philosophy. But basically it is moving slower than the concentric ring of nature so that you are not noticed by animal or human. in other words, you move in DEAD SPACE -- places that animal and people do not pay attention to.

Question from brian: How long have you been in your profession?

Tom Brown: I've been tracking since I've been 7 so that is forty-seven years of tracking and twenty years of running the wilderness and survival tracking school. A second part of that is that I never charge for tracking cases involving lost persons or criminals.

Question from anxious: Can you give an example of a "dead space" place?

Tom Brown: Dead space would be if you were to walk into a classroom, your eyes would immediately go to a podium where a professor was speaking. You would not look along the back walls, under the seat -- your eyes would be riveted to the person lecturing.

Question from Tim: will you be the primary person tracking, or will you be overseeing the tracking team?

Question from Bill: Are you doing the tracking, your school instructors, or former students?

Question from amaranthus: Are the trackers former students of yours?

Question from WildCat: Hi Tom. So, if I were on the show, you'd have to try and find me? No matter where I went?

Tom Brown: Basically my job on the program is that I do not track but give hints to my tracking team along the way. Point out things that they might have overlooked. Part of the rules is that I train the people who are tracking. I don't do the tracking. The difficulty for my position is that I have to keep the camera crews off of the tracks as best I can and reign in my tracking team so they don't get too far ahead -- otherwise we wouldn't have a show. The trackers that are following the people being hunted are trackers that are instructors at my school. They have been tracking anywhere between 7 and thirteen years. Keep in mind, when I say "tracking," these folks dedicate many hours a day to the subject.

Question from Lindie^: Are any of these case current, as in high profile, or "invented" cases for the show?

Tom Brown: No. It's not based on any particular tracking case, but a collage of many. The people who are escaping can make their own choices in the escape. So it would be almost impossible to try to track down a fugitive with cameras following you. The other thing to keep in mind is that my trackers are constrained to follow certain rules. In a real situation there would be many more searches and a lot of air support so the person being tracked would have to take a great deal of care.

Question from WildCat: Do you only track wilderness?

Tom Brown: No. A good tracker can track virtually any place. There have been many crime scenes that I've tracked inside buildings, along streets and things like that. Just recently my tracking team and I traced a runway juvenile 2.5 miles along a road way by following the fragment of tracks left in the roadway dust by the side of the road. Another thing that we do is to read old forensic photographs of unsolved cases, for instance, for finding a body -- there is a forensic photographer who will take pictures and from these we can pick up the tracks of the killer because they will be the same age as the tracks of the person that was killed. A case we recently solved this way was two and a half years old.

Question from Jason: Tom, I just want to thank you for everything you have done - I took the Standard class back in 1998 and am still trying to learn everything!

Question from Jason: In the show will there be segments that give hints/tips for tracking?

Tom Brown: Thank you. I'd like to say, you know me; I would normally not do a reality game show, but this one is different in that I get to teach the audience about tracking along the way. This is the main reason I've decided to do this program. In other words we want to show the audience what can be done by a tracker if they are called in early enough.

Question from littlebird: How much of tracking is physical interpretation vs. intuition?

Tom Brown: A good answer to that is "yes" a little of both. Inside each track is a miniature landscape. The body is a product of checks and balances, and those balances are translated into the tracks through the pressure release. For instance, if you were to stand on a cold floor bare footed, pay rapt attention to your feet as your breath -- you will feel your body sway to compensate for the rise and fall of your chest. Paying closer attention: swallow and you will actually feel your feet compensate for that swallow. These are forming pressure releases.

Question from flint: How did you train yourself to see the 'flattened dust' of ants on rock? I would guess this skill makes tracking people like following an elephant.

Tom Brown: Yes, you learn there are certain rules that you must follow for seeing dust and grit compressions. Llighting is essential. The proper viewing angle is essential. What a tracker does is to push his limits tracking the smallest of animals so that the larger animals and people become easier to track in difficult situations.

Question from brian: I'm a 23 year old FBI rookie whose main expertise is "tracking". I've been on many cases where just looking and a little walking found the suspect. I was also on the case in Washington where the 23 year old man escaped from prison. What determined early in your life that you wanted to be a "tracker"?

Tom Brown: Excellent question. I never planned to be a tracker. I just wanted to live in the woods as much as I possibly could. But tracking became my first love, and I began to help the police when I was very young because of the skill that I had. And there's no greater reward for me than finding a lost child or apprehending a criminal.

Question from LB: The teaser for the show mentioned high tech gear -- I always thought of you as a true purist

Question from Bill: Is the team restricted to using basic techniques, or can they use "advanced techniques" also?

Tom Brown: Basically, to answer the technology question, I am a purist but in a real situation if a person's life is in danger or a criminal must be tracked you use everything at your disposal. If this was 200 years ago we'd be on horsebacks rather than a vehicle. For me I still don't use high tech, I don't use maps, compasses or anything like it. But I teach my trackers to use them if they can.

Question from anxious: What is the most interesting tracking case you have been involved in?

Tom Brown: One that I'm involved in right now -- I am looking for an illegal gravesite for a high profile murder that took place 22 years ago. It's interesting because of all the variables that can be considered tracking and detective work. And right now, the case has me baffled, and that's why it's my favorite until the moment it is solved, which should be coming quickly.

Question from brian: How many cases have you been involved in where the culprits got away?

Tom Brown: That's a hard question to answer. Mainly because as soon as someone disappears into a city environment a tracker cannot do much good. All a tracker can do is piece together the route from where the person escaped to where they got into a car or into a city. Then there are the other cases where someone has gotten off on a technicality in court not so much because of a tracker but because of a technical problem with the arrest. However, a track to a good tracker is like a portrait that they file away in the back of their mind and if in the years to come they ever see that track and those indicator pressure releases again they will remember it. Just in case you (brian) are someone who's trying to get away from me. (laughs)

Question from Bill: Will you be able to incorporate some of Grandfather's deeper philosophies into the tracking as you go?

Tom Brown: Yes, eventually, but not in this first program. Grandfather is the old native American who taught me for nearly 11 years. My best friend's grandfather "Stalking Wolf." My vision for this program in the future is to slow it down and get into more detail about the environment, survival, wild edible plants, stone tools, and all manner of other teachings venues. That way with each program the audience is further educated into all aspects of the wilderness and its philosophy.

Question from Clydester2: Did you plant any hidden coyote lessons in the program that will be shown on Sunday?

Tom Brown: Yes. If you are a student pay close attention to any close up of the track. There are hidden tracks around the track that I've left.

Question from anxious: What is the name of your school and where is it located?

Tom Brown: My school is called the Tracker School. We run classes in New Jersey pine lands, Florida and California. And you can reach the school at trackerschool.com. You can call me at the office at 908-479-4681. The other thing is that the Tracker School teaches equally primitive wilderness survival, tracking, awareness, and the philosophy of living with the earth.

Question from RZ: Your teachings of awareness have greatly inspired me. I have been trying very hard to increase my sense of awareness. My question is, though you keep your awareness at such a high level, do you ever mask or hide this from others? If so, then why?

Tom Brown: Yes, it is called "coyote teaching." For instance, there is a rule in my school that once a student reaches the advanced tracking level, if they are found to be tracking another student, it is a severe violation of privacy and the student will be dismissed from my school immediately. A track is not just a window to the past but a window to the animal or human's soul. A lot of very embarrassing things can be read from a track That is why it's such a strict rule .

Question from in_hiding: How would you track Osama bin Laden?

Tom Brown: First, you would need his footprint, an established footprint, which can be taken from an old photograph. Next would be to identify what's called the indicator pressure releases, much like a finger print and search the areas for his tracks. It is being done right now by former students, that's all I can say about that.

Question from Chris: I have heard of cybertracker, and other various digital tracking. From your perspective, where is the art and science of tracking going?

Tom Brown: To me, the science of tracking is the pressure releases and the ability to read them. The art is to become the animal or human that you are tracking. I don't believe in high tech. I don't ever use it or need to use it. However where cyber tracking is being used it is benefiting environmentalists and naturalists in Africa and other countries.

Question from Lindie^: Tom, have you had any involvement in the Scott Peterson case?

Tom Brown: No. None whatsoever. Except some of the officers I've trained said they were on that case though I don't know what assistance they could have been.

Court TV Host: Any closing thoughts?

Tom Brown: What I am trying to do with THE CHASE is to educate people. But also to entertain them. But what's paramount to me and my instructors is the education. That is what is important to us. I hope everyone enjoys the program on Sunday night!

Court TV Host: Thank you very much for being our guest.

Tom Brown: And may the great spirit bless.

Court TV Host: And may the great spirit bless your show!

Tom Brown: Bless you all. (laughs)

From http://www.courttv.com/talk/chat_transcripts/2004/0409chase-brown.html


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