CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Since 1999, KFOR has been contributing to a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people of Kosovo in support of wider international efforts to build peace and stability in the area.
To ensure the success of NATO’s mission in the region, military police Soldiers from multiple countries are on call 24/7 to protect lives and property on military installations by enforcing military laws and regulations.
“Our mission here is to provide force protection as well as traffic safety with regulating and enforcing traffic laws and investigations,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth Roberts, operations and training noncommissioned officer for RC-East’s Task Force MP. “Our primary focus is Camp Bondsteel, but we also enforce traffic regulations and criminal proceedings at (Camps) Novo Selo and Nothing Hill.”
At all times, MPs are on patrol protecting all the KFOR military installations across Kosovo, ensuring the military members and civilians entrusted with conducting peace support operations are adhering to the laws and policies expected of all those serving in the region.
“It’s important because we have a standard to adhere to,” Roberts said. “Whether it’s the safety aspect or ensuring all laws and traffic regulations are enforced on posts, it’s (all) important.”
Although many might associate MPs with enforcing laws and issuing traffic citations, one of their chief missions is the safety of the personnel working and living on KFOR bases.
Roberts said personnel safety is a critical aspect of their mission, whether it’s clearing personnel to come on base or responding to more serious situations.
“If there was an issue to happen on post here, like an active shooter or suspicious, we are that safety aspect; the first line of defense,” the Richmond, Kentucky native said.
The law enforcement professionals that make up Task Force MP for RC-East are headed up by U.S. Army Soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard’s 438th MP Company, though Roberts is an individual augmentee from the Kentucky ARNG’s 617th MP Co. However, an international contingent of MPs from multiple partner nations also provides military law enforcement services across the regional command.
“It’s been wonderful working with them,” Roberts said of his interactions with the International MPs. “It’s been a seamless transition working with them. And it’s really been an asset to the junior soldiers that we have here as well because it’s not (the IMPs) first rotations. We can cross reference our training and pick up on tools from them.”
Roberts hopes his experience in Kosovo will help his team better train the Soldiers back at his home unit, providing a different perspective on military police work than what many MPs expect coming from a unique operating environment such as Kosovo.
He said he wants to “pass this experience on to our battalion back home.
Being able to pass that knowledge on, the force protection aspect, how it actually works on a military post, and the tricks of the trade” will allow his Soldiers to be better prepared to take on this mission in the future.