GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. –
Early this May, military police and criminal investigation agents from the U.S Army Reserve arrived at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Peru, Indiana, for annual training.
In attendance were nearly 100 Soldiers from the 159th Military Police Battalion, Criminal Investigation Division, the 393rd Military Police Battalion (CID), and the 733rd Military Police Battalion (CID).
The Soldiers were there to conduct one of the most coveted two-week training events for military police, Exercise Guardian Shield, an event typically focused on individual skills refresher and developing previously learned techniques.
However, with the landscape of military law enforcement constantly evolving, Lt. Col. Scott Carrington, battalion commander of the 159th Military Police Battalion in Terre Haute, Indiana, said this year, the exercise aimed at improving training with new concepts and techniques for tackling challenges in today’s military law enforcement.
"What we brought to this exercise were conceptual training opportunities on the use of force, criminal investigations, and assessing threats within communities," he said. “We wanted to add opportunities to increase awareness on new methods and tactics challenging older concepts our MP’s may be used to diverting to."
One of those opportunities was the Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP) facilitated during the exercise by the National Guard, 20th Special Operations Group, 1st Battalion (Airborne) out of Birmingham, Alabama.
The program focused on realistic, task-specific tactics designed for military police and CID agents presenting new models of techniques while also learning weapons retention, and improved methods for arrest procedures in a tactical environment.
“This training showed us quickly how a situation can escalate, especially when grabbing someone at the wrist,” said Carrington. “We also learned conceptual moves designed to gain dominant positions and establish individual safety, ensuring we are not injuring the person we are trying to detain or apprehend.”
Carrington noted this iteration of SOCP training was the first of its kind delivered to Reserve military police centered on nonlethal de-escalation essential tactics in overseas detainee operations and within locally policed communities.
“This instruction was not about being offensive. It was not about being aggressive or lethal, but it was about maintaining positive control quickly and using the correct procedures in various scenarios where use of force may become necessary,” said Carrington.
In addition to field training, the exercise focused on improving education within the investigative process.
Collaborating with the U.S. Army Military Police School (USAMPS) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, the 159th hosted the first Advanced Crime Scene Investigations Techniques Course (ACSIT) facilitated outside of the schoolhouse.
The course taught advanced methods of investigation focusing on crime scene interpretation, advanced photography, evidence evaluation, and collection procedures for both CID agents and MP’s.
Students learned new crime scene processing techniques and modern investigation methods for cold case investigations. Students also received an introduction to the Joint Analytic Real-Time Virtual Information System (JARVISS), an Army software system used by military police to target criminal activity in and around military installations and facilities.
The ACSIT course also tested the MP’s newly applied techniques in a mock mass grave scenario, where students excavated and documented replica human remains buried for the exercise.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven Geniuk, senior instructor with the United States Army Military Police School (USAMPS), explained how the specialized course bolstered competencies for many Reserve MP’s and special agents who support the U.S. Army CID mission in peace and wartime.
“We investigate crimes both in garrison or overseas,” said Geniuk. “The skills they learn during this exercise are going to apply to the investigations Reserve agents work, either supporting a CID office or as a civilian investigator.”
Geniuk added, “This course contributes to not only solving those cases effectively but also learning ways to better protect the communities we are serving. Ultimately, that is what we are here to do.”
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Anthony Campbell, from the 159th Military Police Battalion, led another strategic training objective. He facilitated a Department of Homeland Security class on threat assessment techniques.
Campbell walked through scientific approaches to identifying a reported individual's threat factors, implementing support methods to those struggling with behavioral health issues or thoughts of self-harm, and threat management tactics to address those espousing acts of violence in military communities.
"A critical portion of training not typically offered to military police," Campbell said.
“We don’t have this type of training as military police," he said. "We are very used to responding to criminal type actions. We aren't really trained in the behavioral type aspect,” he stated.
Campbell discussed how the presentation introduced tactics to improve cross-collaboration with multidisciplinary agencies on the investigation process, reporting, and intervention of threats of mass violence not only on military installations but within the civilian community.
“The better prepared we are at understanding what people are going through, the better we are at responding and preventing these complex situations," he said. "I have seen first hand the impacts of this class, sometimes it may be simply improving a life, whereas other times it may be truly saving a life.”
Upon completion of this year's Guardian Shield, Carrington hoped the new training experiences would give Soldiers and leaders the tools to pave a better way for training moving forward.
“In the Army, to get a ‘go' in training, there are ten steps you have to execute correctly to pass,” he said. “We really need to rethink how we are teaching Soldiers, because at the end of the day, improving these areas not only helps keep us safe, it also makes us a better force to protect our nation and the communities we serve."