By CHERYL RODEWIGAugust 8, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Aug. 8, 2012) -- Yellow tape reading "Police Line Do Not Cross" marked off a section of Fort Benning Wednesday where a crowd of more than 50 Soldiers and Family members explored a simulated crime scene -- set up to help spouses and children understand what a Criminal Investigation Command agent does on the job.
"Are you going to do something dangerous?" was the question, half hopeful, 6-year-old Jamie Baxendale asked her father when she saw the scene. Her dad, Sgt. Mike Baxendale, is one of more than a dozen special agents attached to the Benning CID Battalion, which provides around-the-clock felony investigative support to service members and DoD civilians in the Southeast and parts of Central America.
"What we're trying to do is tell a story about CID," said Lt. Col. Richard Felices, battalion commander, as he prepared to announce the lineup of the day's activities. "What we want to do is go through a day in the life of a special agent. This might have some relevance when your spouse gets a call at 2 a.m."
The entire week focused on preparing for deployment. CID agents deploy not as a unit but rather as individual augmentees, so the battalion regularly is tasked to send one or two Soldiers overseas. An annual event, the weeklong deployment conference included meetings with senior leaders from across the region, several working groups, informational seminars on legal matters and reviewing the unit's standard operating procedures. But part of the time was also set aside for a unitwide Family day.
"The reason we brought everyone together is to share lessons learned from the past year and also prepare for next year," Felices said. "But we wanted to incorporate a family day in the week because the reason, I think, the agents can perform so well is because our Families support our organization."
The event included fingerprinting, demonstrating how shoe print molds are made and showing the 12 steps of securing a crime scene. Children and parents could explore the interior and equipment of a Military Police car and fire truck. At the end of the day, participating Families received certificates for their honorary status as special agents.
"It's kind of neat for the Families to be able to come and see what we do," said Staff Sgt. Adam Wright.
Wright, who recently joined the battalion after serving as military police first responder, said it would make it easier for his wife and four children to understand what he's talking about when he mentions work.
Candace Roelofs, wife of Staff Sgt. Mike Roelofs, said her favorite part of the day was learning about how super glue fumes can be used to lift fingerprints from surfaces.
"When he leaves and goes to work, I don't really know what all his job entails," she said. "I know he goes to a crime scene, I know he investigates … but as far as what actually takes place, I don't have a clue. He's gone sometimes for very long hours. Sometimes he leaves in the middle of the night. As a spouse, if I don't have a clue what he does, I don't know how to talk to him; I don't know how to understand anything that is going on. It's hard to support somebody when you don't know what they do. So now I understand that a little bit better. It's been very helpful, very informative."