When Fort Bliss military police officers conducted security inspections for arms rooms, buildings and vehicles three years ago, the pass rate was around 34 percent. Today, it is around 87 percent.
That increase in the ability of Soldiers to secure arms, vehicles and buildings is largely due to a training regimen the post's military police force created, as well as an arms room Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 72nd Military Police Detachment, and Keith Creighton, civilian physical security specialist for the Directorate of Emergency Services, built to compliment the training.
The room, called an "ARMAG" after the ARMAG Corporation that manufactured the eight-by-16-foot vault, contains everything Soldiers need to complete hands on testing for the information they learn in the classroom, said Johnson, who is quick to add that a whole team of Soldiers and civilians helped him gather materials for the room.
Creighton helped most of all, Johnson said.
Not only did Creighton gather equipment for the room, Johnson said, but when he found an ARMAG not being used on post, he worked with the unit to get it for free.
The room cost the directorate about $11,000, Creighton estimated, but the building and the materials would have added up to about $60,000 without several donations.
It is particularly important Soldiers keep property secure at a time when the U.S. Army is trying to save money, Johnson said. "As long as we can teach Soldiers that this is the proper way to do this, hopefully it will pay off," he said. "Every little bit helps."
Work on the room took about 11 months to complete, Johnson said.
The room, built to the exact criteria of arms rooms in buildings throughout Fort Bliss, is located behind the Directorate of Emergency Services building on Sergeant Major Blvd., and it contains rifles and pistols that need securing, as well as ammunition, explosives and keys, Johnson said.
The room also contains a mock alarm system so Soldiers can practice setting a building alarm, Johnson said.
During the training class, instructors give students a bag full of 20 keys, a key box and a sheet of paper, and it is up to the students to apply classroom instruction, by completing key control procedures, Johnson said.
The class takes a week to complete, and so far, the directorate has trained more than 300 Soldiers, Johnson said.
Creighton said he thinks the training is much more successful now because Soldiers have visual aids in the training room that help them understand the material better.
Soldiers interested in taking the training can sign up through the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (often referred to as ATRRS), Johnson said. The directorate conducts training classes in groups of 30 to 40 Soldiers.
As far as anyone who works for Fort Bliss emergency services knows, the class is the only one like it outside Fort Leonard Wood, which is where the U.S. Army trains military police officers, Johnson said.
This article was re-published with permission from Fort Bliss BUGLE.