FORT RUCKER, Ala.--Since December 2008, post community members may have noticed a different look for law enforcement staff here. Department of Army Civilian Police (DACP) not only wear navy blue law enforcement uniforms, but will soon assume the lead role in keeping the post community safe.

Though most of the DACPs are former military police (MP), much training is required before one begins an active, on-post civilian law enforcement role.

"We go through a nine-week law enforcement academy at the U.S. Army Military Police School (USAMPS)," DACP Capt. Jeffery S. Mortensen said.

The USAMPS course conducted at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, includes but is not limited to, physical fitness endurance training; defensive tactics such as impact weapons, ground fighting and weapons retention drills; day and night firearms skill training; emergency vehicle operations; and running, bending, kneeling and standing for long periods of time as related to law enforcement and security duties, according to the USAMPS Web site.

"After attending the academy, we go through a 264-hour field training program," Mortensen said. "It is to ensure the police officer can apply the training learned at the academy."
During the 264-hour training here, a field-trained officer mentors the new officer to assist in the certification process.

At the beginning of this year, there were only two DACPs here - Mortensen and Lt. Marvin L. Brandon. Currently there are seven total DACPs on the force, and eight more are expected to join them by the end of fiscal year 2009.

Brandon said spreading awareness that there are DACPs in the post community and getting post community members to associate the dark blue uniform with installation law enforcement is a key challenge at this time.

"They are not used to seeing us on post," he said. "People are still transitioning from seeing a military police officer in an Army Combat Uniform (ACU) to seeing a civilian police officer in a navy blue uniform."

Mortensen added that there will still be an MP presence on post, but the DACPs are taking the lead role.