MPs' vigilance leads to suspect apprehension
January 23, 2009
One of the first things you are taught as a military policeman is that there is no such thing as a routine patrol, said Pfc. Nicholas Brunecz.
"They tell you that you need to always be alert and nothing is ever routine," said Brunecz, an MP with the 204th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. "Anything can happen at any time."
Brunecz and his patrol partner, Pfc. Brandon Anderson, learned that lesson first hand Jan. 9 when their alertness paid off, resulting in the arrest of a person wanted in connection with impersonating a police officer.
The day began quietly enough.
"It was just a normal day," Brunecz said. "We got our briefing before we went on our shift like always."
During that briefing, Anderson said they were told to be on the lookout for a black pickup truck with orange stripes, canine stickers and blue police-type lights.
"Allegedly the driver of the truck had harassed a female at a gas station in Alexandria," Anderson said.
During the pair's "routine patrol," they were assigned to direct traffic for a couple of hours at one of Fort Polk's gates. About an hour into their assignment, Brunecz said he saw a truck that matched the description of the vehicle wanted in connection with the impersonation of an officer.
"I couldn't believe it," Brunecz said. "I yelled to my partner to call it in, then I had the vehicle pull over when it reached me."
Anderson said he radioed the information on the black truck to the MP desk and the desk sergeant confirmed it was the one authorities were looking for.
"We were advised to apprehend the subject and did so," Anderson said. "We just reacted quickly to the training we received and went from there."
Not only was the driver arrested for impersonating an officer, a search of his vehicle revealed a loaded hand gun, Anderson said. It is against the law to carry a loaded civilian weapon on Fort Polk.
Brunecz said it "felt great" to apprehend someone wanted for impersonating an officer and harassment.
"But really, it's just part of the job," he said. "It did reaffirm my decision to be a police officer; it's something I've always wanted to be."
For their quick actions, Brunecz and Anderson were awarded impact Army Achievement Medals in a ceremony Jan. 15. Lt. Col. James W. Marshall III, Fort Polk's Provost Marshal, presented the medals.
"Everyone is quick to ping the MPs when things go wrong," Marshall told the awardees and their peers. "We don't often get recognized when we do something right."
Marshall said Brunecz and Anderson took the initiative and did the right thing.
"Their actions might have saved a Soldier's life," he said.
Marshall said police training is important for Fort Polk's MPs.
"We know that you can handle Soldierly duties," he said. "We want to make sure you're also good police officers and that you pass that knowledge on to new MPs when they arrive at Fort Polk."
As for Brunecz and Anderson, Marshall said the pair had "set the bar high" for the rest of the MPs at Fort Polk.
"You did a good job," he said. "Thanks for your effort."