News: Military police get hands-on detainee operations training
Story by Sgt. Jon Soles
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - The 493rd Military Police Company, 476th Chemical Battalion, 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 416th Theater Engineer Command, is running 24-hour detainee operations inside a newly-built training facility during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 (WAREX), April 3. WAREX event is a large-scale multi-component collective training exercise designed to prepare Army and National Guard units for deployment. It includes nearly 5,000 Soldiers from more than 60 units from 30 states and Puerto Rico.
Soldiers of the 492nd Engineer Company, 367nd Engineer Battalion, 372nd Engineer Brigade, built the new detainee center in a few days.
According to the MPs who have used it, the center already offers an improvement over previous training. In the past, the Soldiers had to use engineer tape on the floor to represent the outlines of cells. The new training facility, constructed of wood and metal, contains communal cells, a segregation unit and an overwatch area.
“It helps me greatly to actually see a true detention cell that I can walk into and observe.” said Sgt. Liem Truong, of Beaverton, Ore., a military policeman assigned to 493rd MP Company, 476th Chemical Bn., 301st MEB, 416th TEC. “It also helps me to learn how guards work with each other and interact with detainees.”
The MPs are gaining hands-on experience with security operations like maintaining handcuff and key accountability, and conducting food service and sanitation. A hard structure with actual cells makes the training more realistic, according to 1st Sgt. Benjamin Giles, the 493rd MP Company’s senior enlisted adviser.
“There is better training value during WAREX because if we didn’t have this detention center, we would have to simulate important things like key and cuff accountability and cell walls,” said Giles, a native of Puyallup, Wash. “Unless you have the apparatus to train properly, some of the training is lost.”
Some of the important training conducted at the new facility involved communication with detainees. During a combat deployment, many detainees are likely to not speak English, and communication skills can still be accomplished without words. Soldiers said detainees can effectively manage to communicate their needs with good interpersonal skills.
“Body language is universal and practicing interpersonal communications skills is key,” said Sgt. Juan Jackson, of Tacoma, Wash., an internment resettlement specialist assigned to the 493rd MP Company, 476th Chemical Bn., 301st MEB, 416th TEC. “A lot of the scenarios we are practicing here mostly include utilizing interpersonal skills … the way you talk to detainees.”
The new facility also allows role players portraying detainees to subject the military police to various scenarios, such as unruly behavior, protests or threats. The scenarios allowed the Soldiers to practice the communication skills needed to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. Soldiers can build on the training as they continuously prepare for a possible deployment.
“Ninety percent of the problems are solved by interpersonal communication skills,” said Spc. Price Hozjan, an internment resettlement specialist from Snohomish, Wash., assigned to the 493rd MP Company, 476th Chemical Bn., 301st MEB, 416th TEC. “I plan to take everything I learned here at WAREX back to my home station and share it with other Soldiers.”