By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Garrison KaiserslauternJanuary 23, 2013
SEMBACH, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern hosted the 2013 Civilian Misconduct Conference Jan. 13 at the Sembach Community Activities Center.
The theme of the conference was to "ensure the safety, good order and discipline within military communities." The daylong event brought together misconduct officers from three Army garrisons, Air Force authorities, German Polizei and vital community resources, like substance abuse counselors and school liaison officers.
"It's the first time every agency that has anything to do with the civilian misconduct program came together under one roof to discuss complicated issues dealing with civilian misconduct and recommendations on improving the program through joint processes and keeping everyone aware and informed," said Don Gwinn, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's civilian misconduct officer, who organized the event.
Discussions included information on DoDDS schools, the Army's Alcohol Substance Abuse Program and manager employee relations. Local German police officers who specialize in juvenile misconduct were among those who briefed the group.
Assistant Civilian Misconduct Action Authorities help keep garrison commander abreast of information, so they make rational and prudent decisions when deciding on action taken against individuals charged with crimes, Gwinn said.
Rickey Anderson, U.S. Army Garrison Baumohlder's civilian misconduct officer, said that having various subject matter experts on hand -- to include school liaisons, substance counselors, legal officers and Air Force counterparts -- made the conference worthwhile, Anderson said.
"It's important to hear of their trends, the jobs they do and what's going on in the community," Anderson said.
Also, with U.S. Army Baden-Württemberg closing this year, Baumholder, plus those remaining in Mannheim, will soon fall under U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern.
"Because of the transformation going on between (U.S. Army Baden-Württemberg) and U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, we all need to be on the same sheet of music," Anderson said.
Alcohol-related incidents and assaults make up some his caseload. Thefts from the Post Exchange and off-post shops are also common, Anderson said.
Crimes committed on U.S. installations fall under German jurisdiction, said Peter Stein, a senior German police commissioner, who serves as a Polizei liaison for the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Shoplifting, drugs and assaults are typical cases Stein sees, he said. While German police and U.S. military investigators and misconduct officers work closely together to handle cases, it is often work done by phone and e-mails.
The conference offered Stein an opportunity to learn more about U.S. military systems organizations, he said. Plus, he got to meet colleagues he often only gets to speak with by phone.
"It's important to meet the people who work these things out, to get that personal contact," Stein said.
Jeffrey Crisp, deputy to the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern commander, said with new fiscal challenges facing the military, it's important for the Army, Air Force and other agencies to work together on common challenges.
"This was a great first step in trying to find efficiencies in how we do business jointly," Crisp said.