FORT GORDON, Ga. (Dec. 5, 2014) - A team of 11 special agents and investigators from the drug suppression unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, Fort Gordon, got in the weeds -- literally -- as part of a yearly team-building exercise at a remote location in Richmond County, Nov. 21.
The exercise was two months in the making and led by Special Agent Jhansene D. Lopez, U.S. Army CID, Fort Gordon. The training enabled agents to hone their skills for the response and preparedness of major crimes.
"CID special agents and investigators represent some of the most respected and highly trained law enforcement officers in the country," said Lopez. "The training showcased specialized knowledge and skills in forensic science and most importantly the team's camaraderie and professional relationships. The training is a small demonstration of our unique capability in federal law enforcement designed to keep Army posts, camps and stations safe."
Fort Gordon CID agents' jurisdiction spans Georgia and South Carolina. The scenario for the training event was based off real events.
" Team members are exposed to serious incidents most people only watch on the television glamorized in CSI Miami or NCIS," said Lopez. "We have dealt with gripping stories of lover's quarrels turned deadly, heart thumping tales of murder-suicides, multimillion dollar contract fraud investigations and real life pulse pounding drug operations. We are the real deal whose jurisdiction includes Fort Gordon, Fort Gillem, 35 counties in Georgia and 12 counties in South Carolina."
The exercise started with an early-morning briefing with agents gathered together at a field covered with brambles and rough terrain. Lopez played the role of the perpetrator who has decided to cooperate with agents and take them to the scene of the crime where they attempt to locate a buried body.
After the briefing, agents donned protective suits and gloves and spread out in a long line to methodically comb the landscape for clues. Once the body -- a plastic skeleton -- and key evidence were found, small neon-yellow flags used as markers were placed next to the evidence and processing of the crime scene began.
According to Lopez the exercise proved beneficial for the team. "The exercise ended after four hours on the ground," he said. "The training's design to focus on field processing of critical evidence was met. Everyone was pleased with the outcome."
The skill and amity of the agents, headed by Angel L. Miles, special agent-incharge, who oversees all felony-level investigations on post, was unmistakable as they worked side-by-side painstakingly processing evidence until the scenario's completion.
Lopez explained the various capabilities the agents bring to the team and said yearly training exercises will continue for personnel assigned to Fort Gordon's CID.
"Within our ranks, we have child forensic experts, forensic science technicians, trained hostage negotiators, crime scene technicians, interrogators and protective service agents," he said.