August 7, 2016 –
CHARLESTON, S.C.-- Digital scales, white-powder residue and multiple bags of leafy greens laid spread across the coffee table.
“Come on man, just take a hit. I don’t know you, so how else am I supposed to trust you?” asked the drug dealer.
“Man, I told you, I’m not trying to piss hot with my unit. If I pop hot, how am I supposed to keep selling for you?” said the undercover military police, Kwabena Ekye-Addai.
After that, things escalated quickly.
“That’s it! Get him out of here!” ordered the dope dealer to his assistant.
In an instant, the undercover agent was pinned by his neck against the wall.
“Hey, Hey! Stop playin’ man!” yelled the agent.
The phrase “stop playing” was the determined duress call in case the undercover’s life was in danger.
Within moments, four military police kicked in the door. At their command, the bad guys got belly-down with their noses to the floor.
“Okay! Okay! Great job guys, we did not expect that, but you did exactly what you were supposed to do. Go back, we’re going to reset and let them finish the deal,” said Special Agent John Loges, a drug suppression trainer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
This training scenario was part of a larger two-week exercise known as Guardian Shield, tailored specifically for U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers who specialize in criminal investigations.
Other classes in the course included domestic violence intervention, responding to an active shooter and criminal intelligence analysis. The exercise, which lasted from July 25 to Aug. 5, was held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Among the many benefits the training provided were the opportunities to train in life-like scenarios and earn certifications that progress them toward being Criminal Investigation Command special agents.
These certifications normally come through the Military Police Investigations Course at the U.S. Army Military Police School.
“My ultimate goal is to be a special agent,” said Ekye-Addai, an MP with the 323rd MP Detachment (CID), from Lansing, Michigan.
As an MP, Ekye-Addai cannot become a special agent until he completes all of the required training, a task that can seem out of reach for an aspiring CID agent.
“I’ve tried to go to MPI two years in a row,” he said. “Each time I had a seat and was ready to go, but at the last minute, funding fell through. I honestly don’t know how I would get this training if it wasn’t for Guardian Shield.”
Ekye-Addai said he was very impressed with the training, and it was more than he expected.
During Guardian Shield, drug suppression and criminal intelligence and analysis instructors collaborated with each other to expand the learning experience. The criminal intelligence analysis students assembled a package to provide the drug suppression class with a lead on the drug network.
“This year’s training has been more real-life,” said Martin Schultz, a USAMPS course manager from Rolla, Missouri, who taught during Guardian Shield.
“This is the first time we’ve ever merged two courses… [which] gave my students a better perspective so when they’re assigned to an office they know what analysts can do for them to help provide additional intelligence,” said Loges, whose been a part of Guardian Shield since it’s beginning in 2010.
For special agents, working as a team involves more than working with different sections; it also includes active duty and reserve Soldiers, federal and civilian law enforcement, and foreign nationals, all of whom make up the student body of Guardian Shield.
“You can train all day, but when you can put it into action and think about what you are going through, it becomes realistic,” said Col. Detrick L. Briscoe, the commander of 6th Military Police Group (CID), from Louisville, Kentucky.
“Guardian Shield lets them work as a team, and communicate as a team, and when they learn those traits, they can be successful on any battlefield.”