By ROB SCHUETTE, Fort McCoy Public Affairs May 29, 2013
FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- Army Reserve Military Police (MP) law-and-order officers provided support to the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Police Department and received valuable training at the installation in May.
The 438th MP Detachment of Salt Lake City also provided support to the Warrior Exercise during its two-week annual training period at Fort McCoy, said Lt. Col. Michael Porter, 438th Provost Marshal.
Unit members returned in 2011 from a deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom and now are in the readiness phase of the Army Force Generation cycle. Porter said annual training sessions help to maintain and improve unit skills and give experience to newer members.
The 438th had trained at Fort McCoy in 2006 and provided support for an Army Concert Tour event.
"We have maximized our training here in a 24/7 environment," Porter said. "We have been along on patrols, assisted in or learned about traffic investigation and theft investigation, including assisting the Criminal Investigation Division, and helped with traffic control, such as manning the gates and assisting with traffic flow in the Central Fuel and Central Wash facility areas."
DES police officers also provided several training opportunities, including weapons and taser firing. Porter said many of the Fort McCoy police officers have military experience. Others retired from other law-enforcement agencies before working at Fort McCoy.
"It was a big benefit for us to work here," Porter said. "It gave us an opportunity to talk to DES staff to see if there were areas in which we could improve our methods of record keeping or correct deficiencies. We also got a lot of training to help us get the certifications we need as we don't have the resources or time available at home station."
Maj. Chuepheng Lo, the Fort McCoy police operations officer, said the 438th provided welcome support for Fort McCoy's police operations.
"We speak a common language of civilian/military law enforcement," Lo said. "They gave us seamless training and operations support opportunities during their time here."
Department officials would welcome other Army Reserve and National Guard MPs to conduct law-enforcement training here in the future, he said.
The 438th MPs provided relief and support to DES personnel manning the Main Gate for access control. Fort McCoy DES Police Officer Julius Dumale said this allowed his fellow police officers to provide more patrol support to the Fort McCoy community.
Master Sgt. Greg Winter, 438th Operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge, said the training was good for the unit because many of the unit's senior enlisted personnel had transitioned to other units to pursue promotion and career opportunities.
Training at Fort McCoy also gave MPs the opportunity to work in a setting that included civilians, as much of their deployment dealt with military personnel.
"It's just not military police who take care of military installations," Winter said. "This gave them the experience of working with civilian police officers and other personnel. Many of our personnel hadn't worked on gate access before, for example."
Unit personnel got to see the entire scope of the operations, including the interaction with the Fort McCoy Fire Department, he said.
Cpl. Mike Singleton, a 438th MP investigator, said the training at Fort McCoy served as a welcome refresher.
He serves in a law-enforcement position as a civilian, so the training helped him maintain and improve his skills.
Spc. Matthew Thatcher, a 438th MP, said the training was a good refresher coming off of a deployment and helped him keep up with advancements as he doesn't work in law enforcement in his civilian career.
"The Fort McCoy police accepted us and explained what's going on so we received the benefit of their experience," Thatcher said.
"It's also good to have personnel like Corporal Singleton who has experience and you can go to if you have questions. We trained here for a number of consecutive days working in law enforcement so that gets us into that mindset and helps us to focus on taking advantage of the opportunities to improve our skills."