News: Military Police Practice Detainee Operations
Story by Staff Sgt. Brent Powell
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Military police perform a variety of special tasks and unique missions, ranging from law enforcement to running check points and entry control points, to detainee operations. In order to keep those skills sharp and remain mission ready they must constantly practice their special skills.
Soldiers from the 493rd Military Police Company, 476th Chemical Battalion, seized the opportunity to hone their detainee operations skill set here March 30, by conducting realistic value-added training during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 (WAREX). The event is a large scale multi-component collective training exercise designed to prepare Reserve and National Guard units for deployment. It includes nearly 5,000 Soldiers and more than 60 units from 30 states and Puerto Rico.
To prepare for the training scenario, the MPs dressed in full riot gear. They donned body armor, helmets, gloves, elbow pads and knee pads. They also equipped themselves with large fiberglass shields and batons.
Once they were ready and in place, an angry mob of approximately 25 rioters (role players) moved toward the Soldiers. The confrontation was not a friendly one, as the rioters first hurled dirt and small rocks at the MPs, then began shoving and pushing against them trying to break through their lines. Several of the rioting leaders were quickly brought under control by the MPs and placed in hand-cuffs.
Within minutes the Soldiers had quelled the chaos and restored order.
“The critical thing in this scenario is that my Soldiers get home safe and unharmed,” said 1st Lt. Timothy Plourd, platoon leader, 493rd MP Co. “It is also just as important that our detainees are kept safe, and by conducting this type of event, it allows the Soldiers to understand the use of force continuum for any future deployments.”
Although safety was paramount during the confrontation, to the untrained eye it may have appeared real and unscripted, as it tested physical and mental wills on both sides of the action. “They broke my riot helmet,” said Spc. Bryan Collins, a military police officer, 333rd Military Police Battalion, who sustained a cut lip in the fray, and was disappointed he couldn’t continue the training. “I hate being side-lined, I really want to get back out there.”
Soldiers practiced the scenario three times, and implemented their lessons learned from each training session, building on their skills. At the end of the day, everyone involved gained some valuable training from the event.
“This type of training allows us to get a taste of the real deal,” said Sgt. Jodi Johnson, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., and a military police officer assigned to the 308th Military Police Company, 400th Military Police Battalion. “It provides us hands-on training for what we might encounter if we deploy.”