Military Police: Always ready

22 Sep 2006 | Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman

They are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys, they keep us safe and this is how they make sure their Marines are doing it.The Marines of the Headquarters and Support Battalion Camp Lejeune Military Police Company train year round to ensure their Marines are ready for all possible situations that may occur while they keep peace on base, said Staff Sgt. Shane Sheaffer, Provost Marshals training chief.“This constant training is substantial to the base community because it allows our MP’s to be ready for regular changes in installation security measures, crime prevention techniques and to make sure they are qualified for the job,” said Sheaffer.As Sheaffer explains more in detail, MP’s handle community and law enforcement relations, also include gate security, the response to domestic violence, handling of sexual crimes, reasonable suspicion and probable cause, search and seizure, non-lethal weapon training, understanding of the effects of drugs and alcohol and recognizing the signs.“We are the face of the base to visitors at the gate and on the base, and the PMO needs to safeguard that the MP’s are treating other Marines, law enforcement officials, civilians and government contractors with respect while always focusing on safety”, said Cpl. Frederick Gramby, patrolman with PMO.PMO conducts community and law enforcement relations training quarterly for all of the MP’s, which is updated regularly to take into account the changes to policy such as reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and search and seizure, added Sheaffer.“Domestic violence is one of the most frequent and dangerous calls we receive,” said Gramby. To combat the problem and properly train the MP’s, PMO is conducting monthly domestic violence training with particular focus on non-lethal methods for controlling and defusing the situation before the persons involved are injured.“I tell my Marines all the time that ‘if the only weapon I gave you to use to defend yourself was a hammer, then your first instinct is to use that hammer to defend yourself, said, Sheaffer. This goes the same for a firearm, so PMO is requiring all of our Marines to qualify with Oleoresin Capsicum spray, which is a non-lethal spray that incapacitates the person it is used on, hand locks and take down techniques and baton training is used as a last resort before resorting to lethal force.Sometimes a call for domestic violence can involve sexual assault so MP’s are given extensive training for things like the importance of sensitivity, evidence procedures, and how to keep the suspect and the possible victim safe, said Sheaffer.“Our job is to report the facts and keep the peace, not to prosecute and when we show up we try to make the people understand that,” added Sheaffer.Sometimes the facts are not so clear when it comes to drugs and alcohol consumption, said Sheaffer. “It requires extensive training to recognized the differences between the consumption of alcohol or if someone is under the influence of drugs,” said Gramby.During training Marines are shown through classroom instruction and practical application, ways someone might drive under the influence of alcohol or how a person might react to a bright light, added Sheaffer.“We do this training for this base, its residents and personnel. Even our own families live here and this is what we do to keep them safe. I expect the best from my Marines and this extra work shows in their performance,” concluded Sheaffer.