Fort McCoy News June 12, 2015

Military police build skills at Fort McCoy

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Soldiers from the 307th Military Police (MP) Company conducted two weeks of annual training with the Fort McCoy Police Department to augment their installation law-enforcement and security skills.

First Lt. Joshua Nordin, officer in charge for the 307th, an Army Reserve unit from New Kensington, Pa., said his Soldiers greatly benefitted from the experience.

Photo 1
Pvt. Dustin Calabro (left), a military policeman from the 307th Military Police Company of New Kensington, Pa., discusses a patrolling plan with Officer Kevin Zebro of the Fort McCoy Police Department, which is part of the Directorate of Emergency Services.

"They were very supportive and accommodating to us for our training needs," Nordin said. "We learned more, especially, about MP duties in a garrison environment. A lot of our MPs go through basic training and then (technical training) where they learn the basics about working the road as an MP, but after that it kind of gets lost in translation. We are a combat-support unit, so a lot of times our training is more involved in what we would be doing on a deployment."

The MPs participated in numerous Fort McCoy police activities, including riding along on vehicle patrols, conducting entry-gate security, and participating in implementing a variety of random access measures.

"We had MPs working the road during all the different shifts with Fort McCoy officers, and they enjoyed themselves," Nordin said. "They got to see first-hand what it's like to be a police officer on duty every day."

Lt. Randall Mcklin, Fort McCoy Police Department operations leader, said the training began with an operations order from U.S. Army Reserve Command requiring further law-enforcement certification for Reserve MPs. The 307th was the second MP unit to train at the installation in 2015 for this purpose.

Photo 2
A Soldier from the 307th Military Police Company uses a specially designed
go-cart at the Fort McCoy Police Department. The go-cart, when operated, is designed to simulate how an impaired person drives. Cones and props were used to set up the driving course.

"We worked with them to enhance their basic military police skills," Mcklin said. "There is a list of tasks they are required to meet. These are basic law-enforcement tasks that include everything from responding to a domestic disturbance to handling a drunken-driving situation."

Access to training equipment and opportunities make Fort McCoy an ideal place to hold the MP training, Mcklin said. "We have equipment and capabilities they don't normally have access to," he said. "We have patrol cars, for example, and some other things that help them get through the required tasks that are required for military police."

Sgt. Edward Pfeifer, 307th patrol sergeant, said the high level of experience within the Fort McCoy police force also contributed to an excellent training environment.

"They are really knowledgeable on everything," Pfeifer said. "You can tell that they've been through all their proper (training), because when they go to teach you something, they make sure they go through it thoroughly. A lot of the MPs we have are brand new and have no experience in areas like patrolling … so this training has been helpful.

"Being a good MP entails knowing how you should react in a certain situation and how to work to contain the situation," Pfeifer said. "(At Fort McCoy), they have good facilities and training aids. They enabled us in every way possible to train in anything we could think of to help become better MPs."

For Spc. LaRae Clark, 307th MP, the training helped her improve on many levels. "Overall, I enjoyed working the gate, patrolling, and learning, but more personally, I've learned that you always have to be aware of your surroundings," she said.

Besides training on day-to-day law-enforcement activities, the MPs also participated in specialized training, such as escalation-of-force and active-shooter scenarios. "An active-shooter scenario ties more directly to our specialty in the tactical aspect of being a Soldier and as an MP," Nordin said.

Nordin said the 307th will provide the police department with an extensive after-action report about the training. And, because it was a successful effort for his MPs, he said they will look to return to Fort McCoy in the future.

"I think this is a good resource and something we need to look at to do more of in the future," Nordin said. "In the deployment cycle of a Reserve unit, this is something we could look at, especially in the first year back after a deployment. It's kind of a change of pace for annual training, but still very beneficial to us."

Mcklin said the cooperative training will continue in the years ahead. "Obviously, the more MPs we can get here, the more we can show them the opportunities that Fort McCoy brings to their training capability," he said. "We already have training lined up into 2017."

For more information about the Fort McCoy Police Department, call 608-388-2000.