CID deploys sexual-assault investigators following course
September 29, 2009
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Sept. 28, 2009) -- The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command graduated 22 new sexual-assault investigators Sept. 4, from the Special Victims Unit Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
The innovative two-week training course was held at the U.S. Army Military Police School and conducted by the staff of CID Command, MP instructors and highly-qualified experts in the fields of sexual assault, forensics, medical and sex-crimes prosecution.
The course signaled the launch of CID's Centers of Excellence in sexual-assault investigations in support of the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention and Response Program, known as SHARP.
"Our goal is to eliminate sexual assault from the Army...period," said Brig. Gen. Rodney Johnson, the provost marshal general of the Army and commanding general of USACIDC. "CID special agents are some of the most highly-trained criminal investigators in the world and they are already hard at work addressing this problem."
"These special investigators are a definite force multiplier for CID, and will work shoulder to shoulder with our agents to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice," he added.
Johnson said that the highly qualified experts, known as HQEs, and special investigators have spent a lifetime focusing on sexual assault and sexual predator crimes and he sees this as an excellent opportunity for CID to become the model for other law-enforcement agencies worldwide to follow.
"As always in law enforcement, more assets in fighting crime are more than welcome," he said.
Brought on board earlier this year by CID and assigned at the command's headquarters, its group headquarters and the crime lab, the seven HQEs bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience in many areas involving sexual assault.
The HQEs have distinguished themselves as prosecutors, investigators and forensic scientists in the civilian sector. CID agents hope to glean insight and a fresh perspective from the HQEs on some of the more complex cases, command officials said.
Special agents from CID are responsible for investigating all felony-level crime in the Army where an Army nexus exists. Both forward-deployed and assigned throughout the world, special agents conduct about 10,000 criminal investigations annually.
"On average, CID investigates about 1,300 sexual assaults a year that meet the criteria that is reported to Congress" said Special Agent Guy Surian, the deputy operations officer for USACIDC. "The SVU course incorporates the best practices in law enforcement tactics and techniques pertaining to sex-crimes investigations and provides a baseline for the new investigators."
Surian said the first group of sexual assault investigators will be working at 17 major Army installations in Germany, Korea and throughout the United States, starting this month. There, they will assume the lead in forming the special victim investigative units at each location.
CID centers of excellence at various installations will also serve as the training grounds for all agents to improve sexual assault investigations and accountability for offenders.
The two-week course covered various aspects unique to sexual-assault investigations. Topics at the course included alcohol-facilitated sexual-assault investigations; the effects of memory and trauma on victims of sexual assault, and domestic violence.
"The depth in training provided by the HQEs was outstanding," said Don Hardison, the assistant operations officer for CID at Fort Hood, Texas. "It was really great to see CID command provide a dedicated group of investigators to focus on sexual-assault training and focus on this mission."
Hardison said the training also reinforced the change in culture that the Army is seeking in sexual-assault investigations and different methodologies on how they are approached.
Prior to the program launch, mobile training teams were deployed to 27 Army installations worldwide to provide additional on-site sexual assault training to CID special agents by the command's HQEs. Teamwork and working together with the greater Army community was stressed during the on-site course.
"CID, professional law-enforcement officers and the Army community must work together to fight this serious crime," said Chris Grey, chief of Public Affairs, USACIDC. "As such, CID is on point for the Army and depends heavily on Soldiers, family members and civilian employees to be on the lookout and provide assistance in keeping the Army strong and safe."
Complementing this initiative, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, the Department of Defense's only major crime lab, added robotics and automation enhancements for DNA forensic work, and a new Laboratory Information Management System, which increases the capabilities of the examiners yielding quicker response times to evidence processing.
The lab also hired 32 additional forensic examiners and specialists to handle the projected increased workload from the SVUs to better support the criminal investigative process.
The remaining group of special investigators is slated to attend the SVU course in January.
For more information on CID or to report a felony-level crime or provide information
concerning a crime, contact a local CID office or the military police, or visit www.cid.army.mil.