Battling the barracks lawyer through partnership
By Maj. Bryce Gatrell, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Public AffairsApril 17, 2019
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, participated in alcohol-related offenses training at the Barlow Theater, April 15.This training is another addition to Fort Riley's active community partnership. The Fort Riley Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program directors wanted to partner with local officials to help educate Soldiers on the local laws. The Riley County Assistant County Attorney, Kendra Lewison, taught the class.Considering most alcohol-related incidents involving Soldiers happen off-post, commanders found it important to involve someone from off the installation to teach a class of this nature."I'm thrilled to be able to come and explain what the local state laws are," Lewison said. "The best way to avoid violating laws is to start by understanding what they are."Fort Riley has partnered with local police departments in the past to educate Soldiers on impaired and distracted driving, but wanted to be able to tell the other half of the legal story.Brandon French, a Fort Riley alcohol and drug prevention trainer, teaches classes to Soldiers who are convicted of alcohol-related crimes. French observed during his classes that the Soldiers asked a lot of what if's and noticed many were acting as barracks lawyers. French wanted to dispel any myths or bad advice being passed around."Every state has slightly different laws and even established laws can change from time to time and it's even tough for us to keep track of," Lewison said. "Relying on someone in your barracks to give you legal advice is probably not a good idea."Over the years, Fort Riley has built strong relationships with its local communities. The Riley County partnership class is yet another example of Fort Riley's commitment to strengthen its bond with the local community.Riley County officials hope these classes will educate Soldiers and help them make smart choices."We enjoy our partnership with Fort Riley and are always happy to come out and do what we can to help educate and be a resource," Lewison said.