By Mr. Ryan Thompson (Leonard Wood)July 26, 2018
The U.S. Army Military Police School hosted Kentucky law enforcement leaders July 18 to 19. The tour, planned by the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, provided law enforcement from the state a look at military police training.
"The desired end state was to bring our law enforcement to Fort Leonard Wood so that they could get an overview of the training that was going on and take that back and overlay that on their curriculum," said Blaine Hedges, Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs executive director.
Hedges said the idea is to streamline the process so they can get veterans and service members into law enforcement as quickly as possible.
"When we have veterans or service members who are transitioning out of the Army who want to work in law enforcement in the state of Kentucky, we want to accelerate the hiring process and get them into the workforce faster," said Hedges.
The group wanted to see how closely military police training mirrored the type of training police officers get in the civilian world.
"We have these folks coming out of the military with a certain number of training hours, a certain number of years they have served, and we want to see where that fits in to what is required to be a POPS (Police Officer Professional Standards) certified police officer in Kentucky," said Alex Payne, Department of Criminal Justice Training commissioner.
According to Fran Root, Kentucky Law Enforcement Council executive director, there is no reason for MPs to have to complete the full extent of police academy training because of the experience and training they have already gained.
"They are not going to have to go through another 20 weeks of training before they hit the street. They are only going to have to do about 80 hours of training before the end of their first year. They will be good to hit the streets right away," Root said.
Hedges also made it a point to showcase service members' passion to serve by asking current MPs questions. Hedges asked Master Sgt. James Havlin, Basic Military Police Training Division noncommissioned officer in charge, if he would be interested in civilian police work after transitioning from the Army.
"I came into the Army as an MP at age 17, because this was the only place I could get into law enforcement at that age," Havlin said.
"I love being an MP. I can see myself doing local law enforcement once I leave the military," Havlin added.
In addition to the training the MPs already have, Hedges said he would like to see more service members become law enforcement officers in the state of Kentucky because of who they are and what they stand for.
"The majority of the time our service members are well disciplined; they understand how to work as a team, know how to show up on time, are drug free, are of character, they come with strong values," Hedges said.