By Mrs. Dawn Arden (Fort Wood)February 6, 2014
Fort Leonard Wood has been chosen to develop the Department of the Army wide Military Police Peace Officer Standards and Training program.
After a successful first pilot program completed by Company E, 787th MP Battalion in which the Advanced Individual Training students reached POST certification for the state of Missouri in the summer of 2013, the U.S. Army Military Police School has moved forward to the second phase.
Company A, 787th MP Bn. is now taking the lead in the certification program.
?"The Missouri POST was the first step. That first step was to show that we can elevate and change our training curriculum to match an already accepted and established Missouri Peace Officer Training level," said Capt. Marco Valente, 787th MP Bn. commander.
?"Now, what this AIT course flow is doing, this is pilot two. Pilot number two is us saying ok we?'ve executed it, we?'ve shown we can do it, now we?'re shaping it to how we want it to be for the Department of the Army, Military Police. So we?'ve incorporated and we?'ve taken out a lot of the Missouri POST focus material because we won?'t apply to us as military police," Valente added.
Currently each state has their own POST certification, or level of knowledge that their law enforcement officers must meet in order to become licensed.
?"We?'re trying to get where we have our own basically recognizable 51st state of training," Valente said. ?"The goal is that level of training be accepted either nationally or the majority of all the other states."
Reaching these standards during AIT will create a more marketable Soldier, if they choose to continue their law enforcement career after leaving the Army.
?"It brings our standard of training up to a more competitive level with every state nation-wide, bringing us from a regular AIT military school to an actual accredited, competitive market," said Sgt. First Class Tadhg Gaskins, Company A, 787th senior drill sergeant.
?"There is the potential to affect the MP Corps as a whole in the future. Five to 10 years down the road compared to where we?'ve been in the last 10 years as far as our credentialing equivalent to the civilian work force," he said.
Valente added, ?"While they are in uniform, they will be more efficient, they will be more professional and more capable, and then if you look however many years down the road, if they get out in four, ten or 20, they are more marketable."
The training focus has shifted away from state law, to make a more well-rounded military police Soldier.
?"We?'re going more into constitution law. So now our Soldiers instead of getting a four-hour-block instruction on military law, they get eight hours," said 1st Sgt. Malia Nemetz, Company A, 787th first sergeant. ?"We had a JAG (Judge Advocate General) lawyer come in and teach them so they truly understand all the constitution law, the search and seizures, at a higher level than a normal skill-level an MP would know."
Not only will the new standards affect the Military Police Corps, but the individual states will also benefit from these new changes.
?"We saw that our National Guard always goes out in force whenever something occurs, even the stranded motorists in Atlanta this past week, in those HUMVEEs were MPs, probably ones that came out of here, so now we?'re just adding that next level," Nemetz said. ?"Knowing that two-thirds of our Soldiers that leave here are National Guard, now we?'re providing to that state commander another level to his law enforcement that he already has there."
Valente said these program changes will benefit our service members now.
?"At no other point in time has the Military Police Corps ever produced military police Soldiers that have come out of AIT training with all of these done -- never. This is the first course that will have had all of (these requirements)," Valente said.