News: New York Detective puts skills to use in Afghanistan
WUSHTAN, Afghanistan - Marc Davis took a few minutes to talk to an old Afghan man on the road, May 19. As a veteran of the New York City police force, it is a scenario he has been through hundreds of times. The only difference is that instead taking place on a busy city street surrounded by towering skyscrapers, it’s happening on a dirt road next to a mosque surrounded by small mud buildings in Washtun, Afghanistan.
Davis, 47, recently retired from a long career as a detective investigating robberies and homicides in New York City. He now uses the skills he honed as a detective in his new job as a law-enforcement professional working with the Marine Corps.
“What we do is bring some of the criminal justice applications from the American city streets to work in Afghanistan,” he said. “The Marines right now are basically doing detective work, but they are here in a combat zone. We are trying to bridge that gap.”
Law-enforcement professionals have been active in Afghanistan for more than 10 years. They help teach Marine and Afghan forces investigate crimes, find those responsible, and make sure they are properly prosecuted and held accountable.
Davis helps the Marines collect evidence from suspected insurgents and at crime scenes in Afghanistan. A large part of his job is teaching the Marines how to handle a suspected crime scene without his assistance and interact with Afghans.
“We train the Marines in tactical questioning,” Davis said. “Upon introducing themselves to a suspect, the Marines try to learn about the subject in the subject’s own words.”
Soldiers of the Afghan National Army partnered with the Marines on the patrols.
“Out on patrols, as I am taking evidence I explain what I am doing,” Davis said “That way they know how to take this evidence, what they are looking for, and the importance behind it.”
One of the most important skills the Marines learn is collecting fingerprints. Marines keep records of biometric data from Afghan citizens, including fingerprints collected with the handheld interagency identity detection equipment system.
“The more biometrics that are collected out in the field, the more likely we are to match them to something back in the lab,” he said.
“We are getting more positive identifications now because there are so many people in the system. As the database grows, the chance of getting a match grows.”
If fingerprints found on weapons or narcotics match ones already in the system, the Marines know who has handled that material.
Davis said the real satisfaction he gets from his job comes when his cases make it to Afghan court.
“The best part of the job is if you are able to get the conviction in the end,” Davis said. “Even if it is just one person, you are disrupting the flow and you are slowing down that criminal progress and actually saving lives.”
Whether it is on the streets of the Bronx or in an Afghan Bazaar, Davis is proud to help put criminals behind bars.
Date Posted:05.25.2012 13:03
Hometown:BRONX, NY, US
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