By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)September 29, 2016
The U.S. Army Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood offers a course that changes how intelligence gathering is pieced together and analyzed for use in crime prevention.
"The Crime and Criminal Intelligence Analyst Course is an 86-hour functional course designed to train and equip the Army's next generation of Military Police Soldiers with the tools and capabilities needed to combat the sophisticated criminal enterprises both on and off the battlefield," said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Zoerhof, instructor, Crime and Criminal Intelligence Analyst Course, Military Police Investigation Division. "The goal of this course is to teach somebody how to be an analyst and look at information in a different way than we traditionally do."
Forty of the course hours are dedicated to the practical application of interpreting data sets and analyzing evidence, including telephone records, bank activity, timelines, activity flow and visual investigative information, to create a complete picture of the criminal activity.
"When we dig into the data and start building a robust data set, we take away the upper hand," Zoerhof said. "Criminals are going to continue to do criminal behaviors. With a robust criminal intelligence analysis network, we are going to minimize the criminals' ability to hide because we are calling out the things that are signatures, that are trends."
Students learn the technical aspects of data mining and creating the report, but it comes down to seeing the big picture and making the connections for the students to really grasp how important this course is, Zoerhof said.
"They finally see that there is a bigger piece of the puzzle," he said. "I can't teach a mindset. They have to come up with that on their own. I can teach them expertise on certain button clicking. I can teach data mining. But when the light bulb goes on, that's a mindset change."
A recent graduate of the course, 1st Lt. Steven Apsley, executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, said this is a concept he thinks will assist in identifying and correcting issues in the prison.
"Our goal is to take this system back and try and use it to spot trends and do predictive analysis to try and figure out how we can prevent things like trafficking and disciplinary issues within the facility," he said. "Instead of reacting, we can potentially try to predict."
Air Force Master Sgt. Justin Mealy, also a recent graduate of the course, agreed. Mealy, a military intelligence analyst who works with the Drug Enforcement Agency, said the Crime and Criminal Intelligence Analyst Course was the right course for future DEA analysts.
"What we were looking for was some sort of course that would bridge that gap in knowledge from military intelligence to criminal intelligence," Mealy said. "I would love to get everybody through this class before they ever get to me so they will have already started to build that mindset."
The course originated 15 years ago as a crime and antiterrorism prevention course, but evolved seven years ago to what is being offered today.
Zoerhof said that the MP Regiment has reached out to the International Association of Law Enforcement Investigative Analysts, the largest criminal intelligence analysis association in the world, for recognition and accreditation for their basic course.
"Getting the accreditation will allow every single graduate who comes through this course to be level one analyst certified," Zoerhof said.
That accreditation and the skills learned in this course will help the military police in the future of warfighting for the Army.
"The development of Soldiers who are trained in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of criminal intelligence will be the required capability of tomorrow's military police," Zoerhof said.