Youth, military police patrol community streets
October 28, 2010
- Program aims to get youth involved in the community
- Youth volunteers go out on patrol with military police
- Applicants must be at least 14-years-old and have parental permission
HEIDELBERG, Germany - Brandon Campbell could be accused of leading a double life. Campbell works at the Heidelberg commissary during the week, but when he's not assembling party trays or delivering fresh-baked goods to customers, he's in a squad car.
Campbell is a volunteer member of the Heidelberg Youth Police Patrol. He's been on the job about three weeks and is one of six participants in the program.
The HYPP program began in June and pairs local youth with military policemen.
"I knew I was interested in going into the law enforcement field and that I wanted to be a police officer. Being in the program gave me a chance to see exactly what they do and some of the stuff that goes on before I really become involved," Campbell said.
The recent Heidelberg High School graduate volunteers several hours a week at the provost marshal's office on Patrick Henry Village working alongside military policeman like Pfc. Jon Stemler, 529th Military Police Company.
The two take turns conducting patrols together around local installations. They watch for traffic violations, minor infractions or any unusual behavior.
"I think it's a good way for them to really see what we do up close and to learn what integrity and loyalty is and what's right and what's wrong," Stemler said.
The Pittsburgh native said he decided to become an MP to help people and he hoped to pass on that same desire to the young patrol members.
Participants assist law enforcement officials with day-to-day missions and routine procedures such as traffic stops, filing missing ID card reports and desk sergeant operations.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Drexel, PMO plans and operations, said he and Melvin Jones, director of emergency services, came up with the idea after they read a response to a question posted on the Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg's BWNow Web site.
The respondent discussed his experiences as a volunteer with the local police department in high school.
Drexel and Jones saw it as an opportunity to assist and empower Heidelberg youngsters and together the two took steps to jumpstart the program.
"This is a program to energize our youth to come in here and learn about some to the things we do as military police. It also gives them an opportunity to see some of the things that are out here in the community," Drexel said. "It also teaches our youth responsibility, discipline and lets them go out there and help identify problems on our post."
However, Drexel pointed out participants are never allowed to engage in any violent or serious incidents, and their safety is a top priority.
HYPP uses volunteers like Campbell and also employs students from the Hired! Program.
"I like going out with the patrols. They've taught me how to keep my eyes open and to be able to pick out things in the community that do not look right and operational security," Campbell said.
In December, Campbell will ship out for boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes. He enlisted as a master-at-arms or member of the Naval military police force.
The future Sailor added that his Army counterparts gave him some simple advice about military life.
"Stay out of trouble and do what you have to do, and as long as you stay busy the day goes faster," he said.
To participate in HYPP applicants must be at least 14 years old, have parental permission and pass a local background check.
Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a certificate recording their volunteer hours and an award.
Currently the program is available to Heidelberg students and residents, but there are plans to expand it to other communities and to also begin an adult ride-along program.