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NEWS | April 1, 2019

In Qatar, MP unit’s legacy is improved procedures for successors

By Sgt. Zachary Mott Area Support Group - Qatar

Continuously fortifying your position is the mantra echoed by noncommissioned officers in formations throughout the military. It does not matter if it is an individual fighting position for a squad’s defense system or the protecting the largest installation in the world, improvements can always be made.

For Soldiers in the 984th Military Police Company at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, that call to action has been the focus of its current rotation. For nearly nine months, the Fort Carson, Colorado-based unit has built a standard operating procedure for Army Central’s area support group and installation here on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital, Doha. They hope their legacy is improved security for U.S. service members on rotations here.

“When we got here there was no law enforcement SOP,” said Spc. Stephen Drake, desk sergeant, 984th MP Co. “We actually built an SOP and the law enforcement structure for the post.”

A large portion of that SOP fell into the hands of Spc. Nicholas Montoya, a first-time deployer who serves as the 984th MP Company’s traffic accident investigator. With no written policy for traffic enforcement on CAS, Montoya was entrusted to research, write and set the policy in place for how traffic accidents and rules would be enforced here.

“On paper, we just got it finalized earlier this month. I turned it into a rhythm in about two months,” said Montoya, a Gilroy, California, native. “I showed up here expecting to do it on my own because it’s my job and I’m really happy I got that help from my leadership and our law enforcement department.”

Montoya’s unit will hand over responsibility to its successor soon. 

“I’m really proud that we got it done here because now that’s something I can leave oncoming units with,” Montoya said.

The U.S. Army Reserve’s 215th Military Police Detachment from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, is replacing the 984th MP Co. and they began the relief-in-place, or RIP, process in late March. 

“As soon as we got here, they already had everything prepared,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Rodriguez, a desk sergeant with the 215th MP Det. “They had a layout so I could see how they do it and the things that I can make a little bit better. They showed us how the garrison wants it done. They want to leave everything good for us.”

The 215th MP Det. brings a full array of military police services with it and that means the unit can assume and expand on the duties performed by the 984th MP Co.

“We came with a great group of guys that are very knowledgeable in our civilian jobs,” said Sgt. Darian Vigo, evidence custodian and desk sergeant, 215th MP Det. “We are very dynamic. Some are federal officers and others work as correctional officers. There is a great group of guys here that have some type of knowledge and background in law enforcement.”

The RIP includes an instructional period by the 984th MP Co. and is followed by practical application by the oncoming military police from the 215th MP Detachment.

“Now we’re teaching them new SOPs so that they can maintain it,” said Drake, an Artesia, New Mexico, native. “It’s showing them how we ran it and then letting them take the reins and do it how they want to do it. It’s just trying to make sure that they get a better post than what we received so they can give a better post to the next unit.”

Once complete, the 984th MP Co. will return to Fort Carson and the 215th MP Det. will take over the mission here until their own replacements arrive.

“They wanted us to get to Qatar but they’ve been preparing for when we got here,” Rodriguez said. “Every one of them took a part as soon as we got here to square us away in what we’re doing. I really appreciate what they’ve done. With people like that we have a better Army.”