Georgia Army Guardsmen train with local law enforcement

124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Staff Sgt. Tracy Smith

Date: 12.06.2013
Posted: 12.09.2013 05:08
News ID: 117919
Georgia Army Guardsmen train with local law enforcement

KENNESAW Ga. - The Georgia Army National Guard’s 190th Military Police Company, located in Kennesaw, Ga,. conducted joint riot control and mobile field force training with Kennesaw State University Police Department, as an extension of the National Guard initiative to reinforce relationships within Georgia’s communities.

The partnership between KSU and Georgia’s citizen-soldier police forces began in January of this year identifying similarities and learning differences with training focusing on the most basic maneuvers. The training opportunity proved successful, and the organizations committed to routinely training together to give a more substantive approach to public safety when crowd control was needed.

Law enforcement officers and soldiers have long used less-than-lethal methods for crowd dispersement and to detain rioters. Working in concert, the joint law enforcement training force used verbal and hand signals to unify themselves against a crowd of ‘agitators,’ portrayed by the National Guard soldiers. Once assembled, the force began to chant, “Move back” stepping forward in unison with their left feet toward the crowd, a maneuver designed to send a message that compliance is necessary without being demeaning or harmful to the crowd.

“Many of these men and women are from the community and people we know, that we are responsible to,” KSU Uniform Patrol Unit Leader and Marine Corps veteran, Lt. Phillip W. Mings said. “We both use the same basic (crowd control) tactics, and with budget concerns it just makes sense to turn to our neighbor, if the need arises.”

Recently, budget concerns have given rise to more ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking in managing responsibilities for public service and safety. The traditional National Guardsman’s duality as Citizen and Warrior creates a fluid extension of manpower management to proactively respond to this responsibility.
Sgt. Christopher J. Hall grew up in Lilburn, Ga., joining the Lilburn Police Department and, subsequently, the Army National Guard. As a squad leader for 190th Military Police Company, he advocates community involvement because of the citizen-soldiers dual role status.

“It’s another benefit of this type of ongoing training with community law enforcement like the Kennesaw State University police department,” Hall reiterated. “ Many of us (Georgia Guardsmen) work in law enforcement, so we are getting the training to reinforce our capabilities as Guardsmen and taking our Guard training back to our civilian jobs.”

The synchronized movements and reiteration on safety gives the situation a realism that both organizations agree will make them a viable force when called upon.

“The best part is – it’s not a PowerPoint slide,” Staff Sgt. Cody Phillips said proudly as he lobbed another tennis ball projectile and repositioned the bandage on his bloodied nose.

The 3rd Platoon squad leader grins proudly as they react and admits to being excited to give his soldiers some “real world experience.”

“Getting some experience in this scenario and applying that knowledge benefits our communities,” Phillips punctuated. “But when it’s done like this actually getting physical, bruised up will prevent more serious injury from happening in the field because we are getting hands-on knowledge that we can apply as public safety professionals.”

KSU Sgt. Michael L. Centola, a New York native, who now calls Georgia home, worked as an Atlanta Police Officer for nearly ten years before finding a home in the KSU Criminal Investigative Unit.

Never having served in the military, Centola is comfortable interacting with his Guardsman counterparts. He believes each joint-training exercise aids in creating a solid force.

“These are becoming common tactics by keeping everyone on the same sheet of music and familiar with proper procedures,” Centola said. “By training together we reinforce relationships, understand what is needed and can bring the extra muscle when our communities NEED us.”