By Mr. Douglas Demaio (IMCOM)June 11, 2009
BAMBERG, Germany -- A good working relationship is not something that develops overnight; it can take weeks, months or years to develop, so when U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg's Military Police and the German Polizei joined together for an evening of bowling June 2, the more than three decade bond between the law enforcement organizations was reinforced.
Thirty-five years ago, the Military Police and Polizei began the traditional get-together with a barbecue, said Polizei Detective Robert Exner.
The annual bowling event takes place during German-American Friendship Week, but many of those involved get to know each other outside the event.
Staff Sgt. George M Cyrus Jr., Bamberg's traffic noncommissioned officer in charge, said events every few months are good icebreakers for members of the Polizei and Military Police to maintain continuity.
"You get to know faces," Cyrus said. "They get to know your name."
Members of both groups have frequent interaction with one other during work hours, Cyrus said. The members communicate on several levels. The Military Police respond to incidents in the city when Soldiers are involved and the Polizei respond to incidents on post when the law is broken.
From sharing reports to identifying a subject, Military Police and Polizei work together hand-in-hand, he said. Since Military Police deploy or change duty stations often, the organizations can experience some speed bumps, which is why there two have regular events.
"It's important to have a good working relationship," Exner said.
The process of sharing information is not as difficult when there is a prior relationship established.
When someone from the Polizei is seeking information or documentation about a case or subject, knowing the Soldier on the other end of the telephone makes the operational environment more conducive.
"It makes it a lot easier for me knowing the person," Exner said, who is also the regional President for the International Police Association.
Cyrus had a similar outlook about the connection, but said the relationship is more than just a working relationship. Military Police and Polizei find they have numerous things in common.
Cyrus, who used to be a peace officer for the state of Louisiana, said he has been in Bamberg for three years.
During that time, he has discussed plenty of things with his counterparts.
Cyrus teaches criminal justice classes at the education center for the University of Central Texas College.
"We've talked about the civilian side of law enforcement in the U.S. and the civilian side in Germany," he said.
The discussions focused on the similarities and differences between the two legal systems, Cyrus said.
Food is another topic Cyrus likes to discuss. Having lived in Louisiana, many Polizei ask him about gumbo or cooking crawfish. Cyrus has even cooked for a few of his Polizei friends.
"They were in love with it," he said.
Although work is a time to build on the relationships, the off-hour events and functions like a barbecue or pizza nights help cement the relationship, he said.