News: Stryker MPs make difference on YTC roads
Story by Spc. Kimberly Lessmeister
YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. – The red and blue flashing lights of a police patrol vehicle are enough to make any driver double check what he or she is doing.
Attention-grabbing tactics, combined with traffic control points, are how military police of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division “Raiders” working with the YTC Police Department have kept the roads safe as the brigade continues its month-long rotation here.
During the first two weeks of Exercise Raider Focus, tactical vehicle drivers committed 21 traffic infractions on the roads and trails of YTC. However, after the brigade’s MP Platoon began running TCPs Feb. 8, the brigade’s infraction rate plummeted by 90% to just two, according to the brigade’s Provost Marshal Office.
“As more people travel through, they’re becoming aware we’re doing checks,” said Sgt. John Colmenares, a team leader with the platoon. “It has really helped everyone … ensure troops in convoys have everything correct before they go out on mission.”
Colmenares and his fellow MPs checked convoys to make sure vehicles had accurate dispatches, drivers carried their military licenses and that all Soldiers in the vehicle were wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
The platoon leader, 1st Lt. Tate Langley, said he and his Soldiers are out on the roads to protect the members of their brigade.
“Ninety-nine percent of the soldiers are doing the right thing,” said Langley. “We’re monitoring and looking out for the other 1 percent.”
By conducting the impromptu TCPs, the MPs gained experience in a core competency as law enforcers.
“We get to interact a lot more with personnel like we would working the roads in garrison,” said Colmenares. “It allows us to show our professionalism.”
Any vehicular infractions committed by soldiers of the Raider Brigade were reported up to the brigade commander, command sergeant major, and executive officer through the brigade PMO.
The direct visibility of the command was the biggest factor in helping reduce the number of violations, said William Cantral, chief of the YTCPD.
Another part of the experience for the MP Platoon was conducting ride-alongs with YTC police officers, enhancing the effectiveness of the civilian police force’s efforts.
The Stryker MPs performed their mission as if it were a part of the brigade’s exercise scenario, treating YTC as a different country with its own rules, which the MPs supported and reinforced, said Cantral.
The MP Platoon’s TCPs and YTCPD ride-alongs made a significant, immediate difference on the roads of the training center.
“The daily number of traffic infractions, parking violations … reduced significantly as soon as the MPs started working with us,” explained Cantral. “That radio was going crazy … now it’s almost quiet.”