Police partners: German, U.S. law enforcers team up to beef up security, crime prevention
March 2, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Getting pulled over by the police doesn't always mean you've done something wrong in the Wiesbaden military community.
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Directorate of Emergency Services is taking a new approach to law enforcement that involves partnerships with its citizens and the German Polizei.
"We will be more proactive. There will be more (Military Police) interaction. And there will be more patrols around looking for bad stuff before bad stuff happens," said Lt. Col. Mikel Russell, DES director, of the renewed viewpoint of how Military Police operations will be conducted here.
Russell said people should expect to see some differences in police operations in the community in an attempt to dispel the former regard that police and law enforcement officials are only present if something bad has happened.
"We are taking advantage of enhanced partnerships with the local Polizei," said Russell.
Community members will see more frequent patrols by both American military and German police officers in the military community and more interaction from MPs among citizens.
And while the MPs will have a more hands-on approach, they encourage citizens to be more forthcoming with information that could help provide a better quality of service.
"We're open to suggestions on how we can serve you better as your community police department," said Russell. "Bring suggestions to us; we'll talk about it and work on it."
As a result of residents sharing information, law enforcers were able to thwart a potential drug problem in the local high school.
"It helps us when people tell us things. It's especially important for those spouses downrange. It gives them a better sense of security knowing their loved ones are being taken care of back here," said Russell who returned from a deployment to Iraq in November.
Anticipating the increase in population of Soldiers and family members, Wiesbaden police officials are eager to get the word out about the partnership and police operations in the community.
"We want newcomers to be more aware of Polizei activities and driving laws," said Uli Kastl, Wiesbaden Polizei traffic police chief, adding that garrison community members will see speed checks along the streets of Army family housing.
The DES is already active in its partnership with the local Polizei force. Citizens of Wiesbaden may have already seen officers from both forces administering traffic patrol stops on various streets around the city of Wiesbaden.
"That worked really well," said Birthe Fink, Polizei Ober Kommissarin, speaking of patrols conducted with the MPs in December and noting that having an English-speaking officer present was a great bonus at the checkpoints.
The police partnership benefits both forces equally.
"It's good to know people from the MPs so if we need them or they need us we can get help faster," said Kastl who has been a member of the Polizei for 35 years and noted that occasional traffics stops involving American drivers may require assistance from the garrison's force. "All in all we don't have problems with American drivers. But sometimes they don't check the speed when they drive."
"It gives me a good understanding of the German system," said Sgt. Daniel Joyner, a USAG Wiesbaden MP.
Residents should report all emergencies at (0611) 705-114. All other issues can be communicated to the MP Desk at mil 337-5096 or civ (0611) 705-5096. Submit suggestions and other comments via the Interactive Customer Evaluation service.