SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii − U.S. Army Reserve military police (MP) Soldiers from the 414th MP Company, from Joplin, Missouri, received law enforcement integration and certification training from the 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Sept. 4-28. The training is part of an effort to support the Army Total Force Policy, by providing integrated collective training throughout its components in support of overall Army readiness.
The Army's Total Force Policy directive memorandum, issued in 2012 by the Secretary of the Army, is an enduring collaborative effort between the Army's active-duty, Army Reserve and National Guard components to combine resources and transition into an all-inclusive "total force" that is regulated by the same interchangeable policies and procedures.
In an effort to support this policy, leadership from the 8th MP Bde. developed a law enforcement integration and certification program. Upon completion of this program, an Army Reserve MP unit would be qualified to work law enforcement for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI), should the need ever arise.
"The goal is to have a reserve component ready and able to backfill us at any time," said 1st Lt. Abdón Garay, training officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 728th MP Bn. "It allows the Army to use us in any way or form, aside from our current mission here."
The law enforcement integration and certification program was implemented by MPs from 728th's law enforcement section and conducted in three phases: train-the-trainer, law enforcement certification and on-the-job training.
For the first phase, a handful of 414th MP's noncommissioned officers were selected to attend the week-long train-the-trainer class instructed by 728th's MPs. The small group of Army Reserve NCOs selected completed the class a few months prior to beginning the next phase.
Garay explained that it was law enforcement refresher training covering 17 topics, including traffic control, use of force and active shooter.
Once the Soldiers from the 414th MP Co. arrived on Oahu for the second phase, the company hit the ground running and spent the next few weeks learning the law enforcement tactics and procedures used by USAG-HI's MPs.
The weeks were comprised of classroom lessons covering over 70 topics, hands-on training and a culminating training exercise (CTE), which when completed, would certify the reservists.
Garay said he was very impressed with the reservists' professionalism and dedication to learning the program.
"They came here ready to train and ready to fulfill their mission," he said.
U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Hilton, 414th MP platoon sergeant, said he had plenty of experience working as a guard for detention facilities during his four deployments and was excited to learn more about the hands on law enforcement aspect of his job.
Hilton said he appreciated the patience, commitment and professionalism that he and his Soldiers experienced during their training with the battalion's MPs.
"As reservists we have all come across the, 'Oh well, you guys aren't real Army'," said Hilton. "But from the day we put boots on the ground here, we have felt like we've belonged. They [728th's MPs] welcomed us with open arms and treated us as equals."
Battalion law enforcement NCO and instructor Sgt. Sergio Lopez, HHC, said the integration with the 414th was a success and that he admired the service reservists provided.
"I commend them because a lot of them do have careers and they still volunteer to serve their country," he said.
Once the reservists completed the CTE, they joined 728th's MPs in one week of on-the-job training, finishing the last phase of the program.
U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Nathanael Jones, 414th MP Co. commander, said that he was confident his company would be able to provide USAG-HI with the continuity of law enforcement it always expects should the 728th ever deploy.
Jones added, "It was a great opportunity to work with the active component."
Garay said the law enforcement integration and certification training program is an enduring program, which will continue to evolve to meet mission requirements and the Army's Total Force Policy.
"I think that it's great that we're working with the reserves and it's a great use of Army resources," said Garay.