By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsFebruary 1, 2018
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 1, 2018) -- Sgt. 1st Class Tyson Regier and 1st Lt. Joseph Winckel, assigned to 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, donned a new patch on their uniform Jan. 26. It's temporary and they only wore it for several hours when they conducted a courtesy patrol for the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum.
Lt. Col. Alex Ramage, 10th Mountain Division (LI) provost marshal, said that the purpose of the courtesy patrols is to project a positive presence in the local community while influencing Soldiers to make the best decisions they can while off-duty and off post.
"We want Soldiers to be able to go out and have a good time, but we want them to be safe and that they are making good decisions," Ramage said. "We're out there to show the community that we care about our Soldiers."
Ramage said it also reinforces the message of readiness and that Soldiers live the Army values whether they are on-duty or off.
"If I'm a young Soldier and I see my platoon leader or platoon sergeant out there, then that sends a signal to me that they're concerned about what I'm doing this evening and I need to make sure I don't embarrass them and I don't embarrass my organization by making bad decisions," Ramage said.
Soldiers on courtesy patrols do not carry weapons and are not representing law enforcement in any way. However, they carry authority under the Uniform Code of Military Justice to advise Soldiers -- whether that means suggesting someone call a taxi or giving them contact information for the Fort Drum Drunk Driving Prevention Program.
Regier said that each team on courtesy patrol has a list of establishments that they are responsible for covering throughout the night. At each stop, they introduce themselves to staff and management and talk with anyone they identify as Soldiers. They record information in a log book to keep track of the number of Soldiers at any given place and at what hour, as well as any concerns expressed by people they spoke with.
"If some establishments need more attention we can circle back at a later time," Regier said. "Per instructions from the watch commander and provost marshal, there will be one establishment visited at closing time just to make sure everyone has a plan to get home."
Soldiers assigned to the weekend courtesy patrol are selected from platoon leader-level leadership, and the duty is rotated by brigades.
Regier said that the last time he conducted a courtesy patrol was in 2010 while he was stationed in Germany. He said that he enjoys seeing his Soldiers off-duty because it is something he rarely gets to do. It also gives him a chance to see some of the places Soldiers like to go, which Ramage said could even be a local diner or 24-hour restaurant.
"I've never been to any of these places on the list, so this is great," Regier said. "The next time I hear Soldiers talk about what they're doing on the weekend, I can say, 'I know what you're speaking about.'"
Regier also said that being on courtesy patrol is an additional way to practice good leadership.
"Our job is to take care of Soldiers and that's what we're doing out here," he said.