WIESBADEN, Germany – Living in off-post housing can pose several questions. One of them is most likely the question of which police force should to call - the German Polizei or the Military Police?
Wiesbaden and its suburbs fall under the Polizei Directorate of Wiesbaden’s area of responsibility. The directorate is divided into 5 different precincts, which are spread throughout the city area.
Precinct 1 is headquartered on Bertramstrasse and is responsible for the area of the city center of Wiesbaden.
Precinct 2 is headquartered in Mainz-Kostheim and is responsible for the districts Delkenheim, Mainz-Kastel and Mainz-Kostheim. Kastel Housing and Kastel Station, as well as Clay Kaserne fall under this precinct’s area of responsibility.
Chief of the 2nd precinct of the Wiesbaden Polizei directorate, Michael David, explains that for these facilities, object protection measures (“Objektschutz”) and general traffic controls on access roads are carried out. “Upon special request, independent measures are taken in the event of incidents in or around the American institutions and measures of the Military Police are supported,” he said.
Precinct 3 with its headquarters at “Europaviertel”, the former U.S. Army property "Camp Lindsey", is responsible for the districts Dotzheim, Frauenstein und Klarenthal. Rheinblick Golf Course is located in this area.
Precinct 4 of the Wiesbaden Polizei Directorate covers an area of around 100 square kilometers. A total of 12 districts fall under its area of responsibility. Among them is the Bierstadt district, which is also the home of Hainerberg, Aukamm Housing and Crestview Housing.
Operations Officer of the 4th precinct of the Wiesbaden Polizei Directorate, Birthe Fink, explains that the Polizei officers work closely with the Military Police.
Additionally, Fink explains that Polizei officers patrol the streets of Hainerberg, Crestview Housing and Aukamm Housing regularly. “Especially in the two external housing areas, we do a lot of traffic controls at different intervals and different times of the day,” Fink said, “We also do joint trainings with the Military Police. Those trainings are extremely valuable in our cooperation.”
USAG Wiesbaden Directorate of Emergency Services, Chief of Police, Jason Kesselring explains that the partnership between the Military Police and the German Polizei is an enduring one. “Amongst joint patrols and training, our MP often assist with off post traffic accidents when requested,” he said.
Additionally, the MP conduct traffic enforcement on USAREUR-AF plated vehicles. “Our MP are primarily there for law enforcement, but also for the good order and discipline and Force Protection for the communities,” he said.
Wiesbaden Legal Center Officer-In-Charge, Maj. Chris Ford, explains that U.S. citizens in Germany are subject to host nation laws. "Germany has primary jurisdiction over offenses committed by U.S. civilians, to include U.S. Forces civilian employees, their family members and friends who are visiting," Ford said. Understanding that one is subject to host nation laws and regulations while visiting or living in Germany and following them is essential, because violating host nation laws could result in fines, arrest, imprisonment or expulsion from Germany. "There are some crimes that can also be prosecuted in the United States even if committed in Germany. These include crimes against the U.S. and certain crimes against children," Ford said.
Ford also explains that for members of the U.S. military, there is a general waiver by Germany of primary jurisdiction under the NATO Status of Forces Supplementary Agreement. However, a German public prosecutor can revoke this waiver. "This is done rarely," Ford said, "and, as a rule, only in felony cases. U.S. Forces military personnel are almost always tried in a U.S. military court under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
Even if Germany or the U.S. military declines to fine or prosecute for misconduct, a U.S. Forces installation commander has the authority to bar a civilian or family member from post, revoke command sponsorship or return family members early to the U.S. for misconduct that jeopardizes the good order, discipline, safety or readiness of the community, said Ford.
In case of an emergency, Chief of Police, Jason Kesselring requests that the German Polizei are called first at “110”. However, he explains that he knows that many community members that live in the open housing areas are worried about calling the German Polizei, because of a potential language barrier. “Many of the German police officers and dispatchers can speak English or they will get a colleague that can. The Military Police can assist if there is a communication barrier,” he said.