By Ms. Caroline N Keyser (Irwin)May 19, 2011
Soldiers from the National Training Center Military Police Company became better prepared to serve the community last week.
The company took part in a daylong capstone training exercise May 13. Capstone exercises, which are part of the company's Law Enforcement Excellence Program, take place twice a year and focus on refreshing the MPs' skills and informing them of current law enforcement trends.
The training is led by law enforcement officers from more than a dozen agencies around Southern California who volunteer their time. Many of the trainers are also members of the California State Military Reserve, which performs duties of the National Guard when the Guard is deployed or unavailable.
"The Soldiers are exposed to law enforcement skills and techniques by some of the most experienced in the field, and they get to build relationships with these law enforcement professionals," said Capt. Jason Kim, commander of the NTC MP Company. "And the trainers get to support the troops by doing what they know best. It's a win-win situation."
This season's capstone featured training on how to handle a disturbance in barracks, traffic stops, use of force, and tactical shooting. As the MPs made their way through each training module, the law enforcement officers in charge gave them feedback about their performances and offered suggestions on how to improve. At the end of the day, the capstone exercise culminated with an active shooter scenario at post headquarters, Building 988.
Providing Fort Irwin's MPs with real-world training is important because of the post's unique location, said Col. Jim Chevallier, Garrison commander.
"One of the challenges we have is our MP Company is a long way from any other law enforcement expertise," Chevallier said. "Our partnership with outside agencies is key to maintaining our proficiency."
Deputy Amy Puzio of the Los Angeles Sherriff's Department volunteered for the fourth time as an MP capstone trainer. She served as officer in charge for the tactical shooting training.
"I take it as a huge honor to be invited back to help out," Puzio said.
The training Puzio helped provide for the MPs is the same training deputies in her department go through, she said.
Spc. Bladimir Rodriguez said he found one of the biggest benefits to be the shooting training.
"(Working with the trainers) opens up your mind and gives you more tools to better help the community," he said.