SME exchanges build partnerships with state law enforcement

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

Strengthening Partner Engagement is one of the bedrock Office of Special Investigations Strategic Lines of Effort. The value of which was showcased recently in the Lone Star State.


Twelve members of the OSI 3rd Field Investigations Squadron, Specialized Surveillance Team, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, participated in advanced driver training hosted by Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers, Feb. 21-26, 2021.


The training was conducted at the DPS Tactical Training Facility in Florence, Texas, about a two-hour drive from San Antonio. It consisted of various dynamic driving courses of high and low-speed maneuvers, designed to enhance SST member skills and judgment behind the wheel at no cost to OSI.


“DPS is the premier law enforcement agency in Texas, offering a world-class training program on Law Enforcement Education, that educates and trains recruits, troopers, agents and the Texas Rangers across the state,” said Lt. Col. James Merenda, 3 FIS commander.


DPS also provides training for inter-agency programs with local, state and federal law enforcement partners.


“The advanced driver training is a result of 3 FIS/SST’s strong liaison efforts, where we meet Department of Defense, Department of Justice, state and local officials to discuss training exchanges and collaborations,” Merenda explained.


This relationship has postured 3 FIS/SST to participate in an upcoming collaborative training exchange with the DPS Criminal Investigations Division. During this training, SST will instruct DPS/CID agents and Texas Rangers in surveillance and counter-surveillance Tactics, Techniques and Procedures.


This is the beginning of a long-term liaison relationship where OSI and DPS can benefit from each other’s subject matter expertise.


“The expectation is that all SST members will receive DPS driving, firearms, etc., training on a yearly basis,” Merenda said. “In exchange, SST will provide surveillance training to various DPS units.”


SST participants shared a few thoughts on how the DPS advanced driver training helps make them better OSI special agents:


“It highlights SST capabilities and limitations involving motor vehicles in different environments,” one agent said.


“It reinforces the understanding of this perishable, critical skill and how important it is to sustain it,” said another agent.


“Driving while conducting SST operations requires precision, focus, attention to detail, and 100 percent situational awareness. So, it’s imperative to the performance of SST in any environment to refresh these skills annually,” voiced a third agent.