FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky -- The Department of the Army Civilian Police (DACP) is an important part of the military police team when it comes to securing and patrolling Army installations throughout the world.
From the Chief of Police to the officers out on patrol, these law enforcement professionals play a critical role in enabling the Military Police Corps to fulfill its law enforcement function. According to the DACP mission statement, these officers are part of the long term plan to provide a core of institutional professionalism, experience, and knowledge while ensuring operational continuity on Fort Campbell and within the Army.
"We [DACPs] approach every day with a single mindset of, 'nothing is more important than ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our Soldiers' Families and our Soldiers," says Chief of Police Keith Shumate.
According to Shumate, DACPs are an extension to Military Police Corps.
"We are law enforcement professionals who "enhance the readiness" of Fort Campbell and the Army by protecting installation infrastructure and personnel through the enforcement of laws and regulations," Shumate said.
Majority of DACP officers are prior service Soldier and have previously served as Military Police or were Soldiers stationed here at Fort Campbell. Because of this, these officers bring valuable perspective to today's law enforcement operations.
"I have been working as a DACP on Fort Campbell since 2016," said DACP Cpl. Ignacio Rivera. "The MPs and DACPs have a great working relationship and despite the different uniforms, everyone performs as one team."
Before exchanging his combat uniform for the dark navy blue the DACP wear, Rivera was part of the 716th MP Bn. on Fort Campbell for a number of years.
"I've been an MP with the 212th MP Company from 2007-2009 in Germany; I deployed to Iraq with them and then moved to Fort Bliss from 2009-2011 with the 72nd MP Detachment before settling down back at Fort Campbell for my last duty station in 2011," Rivera said. "I've been with both the 551st MP Co. and 163rd MP Detachment here at Fort Campbell, before reaching my Expiration of Term of Service date and being released from the Army in 2015."
Currently, Soldiers from the 716th MP Bn. conduct law enforcement for cycles that last approximately six months. These short cycles create unique challenges during the law enforcement transition between units. DACP officers within Fort Campbell's Provost Marshal Office stay within the organization well beyond those cycles, creating a source of continuity and leadership to aid in each transition between new units.
In addition to patrols working the streets, DACPs also act as shift supervisors or Watch Commanders, as well as filling a variety of senior leadership positions within the Installation Provost Marshal Office (IPMO).
"Having senior leaders within the organization with decades of law enforcement expertise and life experience mitigates the risks associated with the natural turnover of leaders within the Army, enabling the continuation of Fort Campbell's law enforcement operations," said Rivera.
"One of the most rewarding parts of my job is teaching and mentoring new MP Soldiers working the road [law enforcement] here. I always try to make myself a resource for the Soldiers," Rivera continues.
Sgt. Christopher McKinley, a patrol supervisor with 561st MP Company, has worked the last six months conducting law enforcement on Fort Campbell.
McKinley says officers like Rivera are invaluable teammates and mentors when new Soldiers begin working law enforcement.
"The DACPs provide a valuable base of knowledge and continuity," McKinley said. "During times when there's a high volume of calls, if I hear one of those officers [DACP] are out somewhere with one of my Soldiers, I know that they are going to be an asset on scene. That lets me step back and take a breath as a supervisor to manage other incidents."
DACPs officers go through extensive training before being certified through the U.S. Army Civilian Police Academy (USACPA) at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
The USACPA trains officers based off standards and requirements set by the Office of the Provost Marshal General, the chief authority for the MP Corps as a whole.
The USACPA has been accredited by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation, meaning that it is one of the top tier law enforcement academies throughout the country. Furthermore, the USACPA trains law enforcement officers from other branches such as the Coast Guard, exemplifying the institution's high standards and quality instruction.