02 Sept. 15 –
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Army Reserve law enforcement Soldiers recently received training in undercover and drug suppression operations at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
The training center was the site of Guardian Shield 2015, a two-week event that began August 22 and hosted by the 733rd Military Police Battalion (CID) out of Fort Gillem, Georgia.
Guardian Shield is an annual event in its sixth year and primarily developed for Army Reserve CID special agents but also includes training for non-agent Soldiers.
“When they leave here, they leave with something that they can apply on the Army side and the civilian side,” said Lt. Col Eric J. Prugh the commander of the 733rd Military Police Battalion (CID). “It enhances the partnerships between the Army Reserve and civilian employers.”
During the two-week event, forty-four non-agent Soldiers attended Drug Suppression Team training.
Two sessions of this one-week course were taught during this Guardian Shield.
The course was taught by instructors from the U.S. Army Military Police School based at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and focused on teaching undercover operations techniques that include operational planning, the use of technical surveillance equipment, mobile and foot surveillance, and operating as a drug suppression team.
“The objective of the course is to teach drug suppression team members to operate in an undercover posture safely,” said Martin Schultz, a 16-year veteran instructor at USAMPS.
“Back in the day, when people started working undercover, they were basically flying around by the seat of their pants,” Schultz said. “This course gives them some structure and guidance, as to how to use tactics and procedures - what should be done, what shouldn’t be done.”
Students learned to develop a plan for an undercover operation and then put the plan in action with role-play scenarios.
Role-play is an integral part of the course where students are put into undercover situations and mentally tested on their skills and abilities.
“We try to see if they can deal with the pressure of confronting a dealer and trying to make a relationship so they can do a subsequent deal,” said Schultz.
SGT Carlos Goldman, a soldier assigned to the 602nd Military Police Company in Shreveport, Louisiana, attended the first session of the course.
“This is new for me,” Goldman said. “It’s pretty impressive, as far as the amount of information the instructors put out in the allotted time. The information is there and we can absorb it and use it.”
The course teaches tactics that may be counter intuitive at first but make sense when they are put in practice.
The instructors maintain the key message of safety and why it is so important to plan an undercover operation.
“Working undercover work is probably the most dangerous thing that you’ll ever get involved in law enforcement,” Schultz said. “If you do it well and you do it right and you do it safely then everybody goes home at night - no dope worth dying over.”
The instructors said student feedback is consistently positive every time the course is taught and it is also true with this class.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is probably the best training that I’ve had the privilege to attend,” said Goldman. “The facility is great, the instruction was awesome, the environments great. I feel that anything we do should model this.”