CSMR provide Provost Marshall Office objectives, policies and directives
When Soldiers are on duty as part of a base security force, they know how to rely on their training to handle the variety of difficult situations that might arise on post.
Sometimes those situations for SECFOR (Security Force) Soldiers can be more than just difficult, they can be potentially deadly. If not handled properly, scenarios may develop that could put lives in jeopardy — such as a suspect who doesn’t want to be handcuffed or who tries grab a Soldier’s sidearm.
A segment of training that both California National Guard and California State Military Reserve Soldiers have learned to count on is the supplemental instruction provided by the CSMR’s 2d Brigade, State Military Police.
The SMP unit has earned appreciation and gratitude for the drills that it holds for SECFOR personnel — numerous exercises that augment Army field manual requirements and procedures with experience and techniques from real-world civilian law enforcement. By design, many of the brigade’s members are current or former members of local law enforcement agencies.
“We can tell you what works and doesn’t work — we have the (street) experience,” said CSMR Capt. Fred Thompson during the second day of a three-day training cycle in mid-June at the Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos. Thompson is a long-time deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The training, which is held about every six months, is directed by CSMR 1st Sgt. Dennis Barberic, a veteran member of the Hawthorne Police Department.
About 30 Soldiers, most from the CSMR, attended the JFTB training that featured plenty of one-on-one practicing in the field, including how to maintain control of your sidearm or weapon if challenged in close quarters and how to safely and efficiently handcuff suspects. Many of the Soldiers in the session had recently joined the CSMR with the intent of developing or enhancing careers in law enforcement-related work.
“I love it, absolutely,” said Pfc. Bill Dumas, who signed on with the CSMR in January and who has a background in private security work. “I couldn’t be more happier with the training and the (state military) services I am able to do.”
In addition to the field training, there is plenty of classroom time devoted to review and study.
One aspect of SECFOR work that is meticulously presented and practiced is the traffic stop. That’s because of how careful those situations must be handled due to the diverse factors that may be involved. The stops call for responsible actions by SECFOR personnel at all times since JFTB is not only a military environment with all the complexity that entails, but also a venue where the public is regularly allowed in for activities and events.
“Is it mom and dad (in the car) with the kids or hard-core gangsters?” he asked the class. “We are the stewards of the base. We are trying to keep things safe.”
Just like in the civilian world of cops on patrol, Soldiers are taught to be very vigilant and aware of their positioning in relation to those in the vehicle as well as to the passing street traffic. The key, according to the course material, is to never turn your back, especially when writing out a citation.
But no matter the length or outcome of the traffic encounter, it is always important to practice professionalism and courtesy, not only for the SECFOR Soldier, but also for the Soldiers or members of other service branches who are most often the ones being stopped. The ticket is eventually going to be seen by that person’s commanding officer and the notes area of the citation is where the SECFOR trooper could relate telling details of how uncooperative or unruly the person was, or how cooperative and cordial he or she was.
But the SECFOR trooper has to stay disciplined in conduct no matter how friendly or unfriendly the circumstances may become, including anything said that could be perceived as insensitive or even gloating.
The best bet is to always stay professional and neutral, advised Sgt. Thompson.
“After you write them a ticket,” he reminded the class, “don’t say ‘have a nice day.’”
By Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rick de la Torre (CA)