National Guard MPs train at USDB
July 26, 2012
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (July 26, 2012) -- Spc. George Morton joked lightly with the inmates as he randomly selected them for pat-downs before they reported to duty.
He still noticed one had a tiny bulge under his sock that could conceal contraband, checked it carefully, then sent the inmate on his way to work detail at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks.
Morton, an MP with the 192nd Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion with the Connecticut Army National Guard, was one of about 30 Soldiers who visited Fort Leavenworth to learn more about practices and procedures of Army corrections. Connecticut National Guard Soldiers trained with members of the 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, which staffs the USDB, the Army's only maximum-security facility. They shadowed Fort Leavenworth Soldiers for about a month. Another National Guard unit will train with the 705th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion next month. The 705th staffs Fort Leavenworth's Joint Regional Correctional Facility.
Morton, a recent college graduate, is looking for work in law enforcement. He said the work with inmates was useful hands-on experience.
"We try to be friendly, but we have a job to do, and we take it very seriously," he said.
Sgt. Charles Buford, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th MP I/R Bn., said working directly with the inmates is the best way for Soldiers to understand why the USDB has certain policies and procedures in place.
"The foundation of success is training," he said. "And it's a lot easier to understand how to interact with the inmates when they're doing it."
Buford said it's also useful for him and other Soldiers within Army Corrections Command to train others. He's worked at the USDB for more than three years.
"Having that fresh set of eyes, sometimes on the monotonous role of doing this day-by-day, if there's some chance there's something they see that we've missed, then we can check on that," he said.
The 192nd, as an internment and resettlement battalion, sometimes has crossover functions with the regular Army. In 2009, they deployed to Camp Cropper, Iraq, to handle detainee operations. Upon leaving theater, they were replaced by the 705th MP I/R Bn. of Fort Leavenworth at Camp Cropper.
Staff Sgt. Terrence Tyner, 192nd MP I/R Bn., served on active duty in the infantry for seven years before becoming part of the Connecticut National Guard unit. He was part of the 2009 deployment to Camp Cropper. Tyner said watching Fort Leavenworth's corrections officers helped him get a better understanding of the USDB's operations.
"I get to see how the inmates are compared to how I thought they lived," he said. "I see how they have a good rapport with their (corrections officers), because they realize that if they're doing good and acting right, they're treated well."
Tyner also noted it was useful to Connecticut Soldiers earning their first military occupation specialty.
"If you have a good junior enlisted Soldier that knows the job, you have a good team that can get the job done in a timely manner," he said.
Sgt. Vincent Daly, 40th MP I/R Bn., said accountability of inmates at all times was one of the most important lessons for the Connecticut Soldiers to learn.
"It doesn't really matter if it's our guys or their guys, they're Soldiers and they need to learn what they're going to be doing," he said.