FORT KNOX, Ky. — Sirens silenced chirping birds near the barracks. Someone had reported a domestic dispute on the third floor and two patrol cars from 34th Military Police Detachment responded within two minutes.
Standing out front at the Home Station Training Lanes site Sept. 14, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Wheeler watched the police officers arrive, then followed as they approached the room of the fighting couple.
An Active Component/Reserve Component observer controller trainer with 1st Battalion, 410th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 4th Cavalry Brigade, Wheeler jotted notes as members of 34th ran through several different scenarios during the second day of a two-day exercise evaluation at the installation.
The evaluation was an internal initiative identified as a requirement and training objective for the unit by the detachment commander.
“The 34th MP Detachment reached out to members of our team through some personal relationships they have,” said Wheeler. “As a military police Soldier myself, I have no problem jumping in on this and helping other MP Soldiers get the quality training that they need, watching their training, and giving them some professional insight.”
Wheeler said part of the evaluation that he and his team provide comes straight from Army training manuals.
“As we’re watching, we make notes and make sure they’re hitting all the critical Soldier and leadership steps in the different tasks to ensure they’re proficient,” said Wheeler.
Some of the tasks they were expected to accomplish included responding to larceny, answering a domestic altercation, booking and interviewing a suspect, reacting to a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, processing a traffic accident and thwarting an active shooter.
Staff Sgt. William Tomblin, operations noncommissioned officer for 34th, said their intent with the exercise was to make sure all the Soldiers are prepared in case they ever receive orders to deploy to an austere environment in the future.
“Our commander wanted to get a better idea, if we are called to deploy and set up a [provost marshal office], how her detachment is going to react,” said Tomblin. “We are exposing these Soldiers to an environment that they’re not used to being in and not being able to rely on having civilian overhead; everything is internal.”
While not in a garrison environment in the United States, Tomblin said a provost marshal office, or PMO, is responsible for much of the same duties in a deployed environment, normally at a large forward operating base. Those responsibilities include policing, force protection and antiterrorism measures.
Tomblin said the exercise had proven valuable to them.
“They’re doing well,” said Tomblin. “They’re already very well trained — this is what we normally do day-in and day-out at Fort Knox. The only change is the environment they’re in.”