Through laughs and good-natured banter, officers and military police on Fort Meade, Maryland, prepared equipment, filled out paperwork and listened to their pre-shift brief. The watch commander informed them of their duties for the day and assigned each of them a zone. Once released, the officers and the military police headed out to inspect their vehicles and began their watch across the installation.
Both the officers and the military police patrolled the roads and walked the streets, greeting residents and interacting with kids on their way to school. The biggest difference between the two groups of police members was their uniform. One group wore Army green, while the other wore Police blue.
Some were active duty or full time civilians, while others were Army Reserve Soldiers. And yet, they were all here to do the same job.
"Incorporating the military police from the 200th enhanced our number of response personnel which is definitely a benefit to the department and the Fort Meade community as a whole," said Lt. RoLenn Land a watch commander at the Fort Meade Police Department.
Though this may seem like just another police shift, Fort Meade is the latest of a group of installations benefitting from U.S. Army Reserve police coming on board to lend a helping hand.
Their presence on post is an expansion of the on going partnership between the 200th Military Police Command and the Military District of Washington. The collaboration began in February when Soldiers from the 200th Military Police Command worked side-by-side with the Old Guard on Fort Myer, Fort McNair and the Arlington National Cemetery.
Now the partnership is growing.
Since the launch of the program, several installations have requested support from the 200th Military Police Command. Currently they are developing plans to send military police to support law enforcement agencies on Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia; and Fort Drum, New York.
"Our military police Soldiers are helping enhance garrison security, and at the same time we are building rapport with our active duty counterparts," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert M. Bunch, the law enforcement liaison for the command.
On Fort Meade, the integration of the 200th MP Soldiers into the force appeared to go seamlessly, said Land. They were well prepared, willing to learn and ready to work.
The Fort Meade Police Department trained the Soldiers for three days. During the training, the MPs partnered up with a civilian officer, they learned the standard operating procedures for the post and the jurisdictions. Once the field-training officer signs off on their training, each Soldier receives their own vehicle and begin working assigned cases.
This is a great opportunity for MPs to hone their law enforcement skills, and it gives officers some room to breathe, said Spc. Bradley A. Skowronski, a U.S. Army Reserve military police Soldier assigned to the 102nd MP Company out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Through this partnership, the military police Soldiers not only receive their law enforcement certification, they also get real-world experience, which is something they don't get during a training exercise.
Increasing the number of law enforcement officials on military installations can help develop a sense of security among the residents and can act as a deterrent for violators.
"The Department of the Army police do a tremendous job here, but they do get loaded up with case work," he said. "Once we get here and we get through the FTO process we can take a little bit of that weight off their shoulders."