About the author

Jim Russell moved from New England to Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2001 and has been involved in the Virginia Search and Rescue program since 2014.

He is the Director of the Search and Rescue Tracking Institute (SARTI) and former Group Commander of Tidewater Search and Rescue (TSAR).

Jim holds certifications as a Search Team Leader (STL), Management Team Member (MTM), and Tracking Technician (TT) from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).

In 2019, Jim became an Adjunct SAR Instructor for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Jim has been part of the Virginia Ground Search and Rescue Academy instructor cadre for the Tracking Team Operations (formerly called F.A.S.T.) class, Search Team Operations class, and the Search Team Leadership class. Jim is also actively involved in working with VDEM on the state's human tracking standards, Tracking Team Operations training curriculum, and is a VDEM Tracking Evaluator.

Since attending comparative osteology workshops at Radford University, Western Carolina University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Jim has been researching and developing his own workshop for comparative osteology, comparing and identifying animal versus human bones that are found during searches. He launched The Russell Bone Atlas (www.RussellBoneAtlas.com) in 2019, a comparative osteology website that searchers can use while in the field to help identify bones. In 2023, he founded Is It Human, LLC (www.isithuman.us),developed and is the instructor for the "Is it human? Comparative Osteology for First Responders" workshop which was sanctioned by VDEM in 2023 and offers the class throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Most recently, as part of a larger SARTI research project, Jim has been involved with researching the use of alternative light source (ALS) technology in the ultraviolet spectrum for the detection of human skeletal remains. SARTI is working closely with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Commonwealth University and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the development of this new technology for search and recovery missions.