The army contacts the civilian police to patrol the bases

Lt. Shane Kantz, 37, of Richmond, Va., Chats with a motorist during a routine traffic check in Vilseck, Germany on Friday. (Seth Robson / S&S)

VILSECK, Germany – According to one of Europe’s top military policemen, civilian police officers may soon keep pace at many US Army bases overseas, as combat missions continue to stretch military police.

So far, the US Army Grafenwhr Garrison, which includes the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, is the only overseas garrison patrolled by civilian police. Grafenwh’s Provost Marshal Lt. Col. Shawn Driscoll predicted that the program, known as the Army Civilian Police Department, could expand to other Army bases in Europe.

Civilian police officers, who wear beige uniforms, have occupied offices in garrison police stations across Europe since 2006. In May, the USAG Grafenwür began hiring civilian patrol officers, called watch commanders, to go on the road with deputies. .

In the United States, more than 3,000 civilian police officers already patrol army facilities, Driscoll said.

“I expect this to be the norm for other sustainable installations in Europe.”

An Installation Management Command-Europe official contacted on Friday said he was not aware of any plans to extend the program.

But, as the positive results of Grafenwh’s community patrols reach other commanders, it is likely that other garrison commanders will view this program as a capability to help meet future needs, ”; IMCOM spokesperson Tom Saunders said.

The constant deployments have left a “capacity gap” back home, said Driscoll, who has 11 civilian police officers working at his post and three other police officers en route.

In July, there were 54,476 members of the army including 3,805 stationed abroad, 6,209 deployed in Iraq and 1,829 deployed in Afghanistan, according to Driscoll, citing the provost marshal’s office.

In Grafenwöhr, the 709th MP Battalion has twice deployed to Iraq and is currently deployed to Afghanistan. The 615th MP Company has deployed to Iraq twice and is preparing for another deployment.

People shouldn’t expect to wake up one day and find that all MPs have been replaced by civilians, Driscoll said.

“The deputies will never leave the law enforcement ground, the lock, the stock and the cannon. The application of the law will always be the first mission of the deputies. Even when deployed, they conduct law enforcement missions, ”he said.

Even so, civilian police – who are paid between $ 41,000 and $ 53,000 per year plus housing and living expenses – will be involved in law enforcement in the garrisons for the foreseeable future, Driscoll said. .

In Grafenw & # hr, four civilian police officers and six MPs typically patrol the streets on Friday and Saturday evenings.

One of the civilians, Lt. Shane Kantz, 37, from Richmond, Va., Arrived in Germany in May after working as a police officer in Virginia for nine years.

Kantz said MPs were a little worried when he started working with civilian police.

“Some people thought we were here to take away their jobs,” he said.

Driscoll said he didn’t think MPs believed their jobs were in jeopardy, but added there was some apprehension.

“People were worried because they didn’t know who or what these guys were. They have discovered that they are experienced police officers from whom they can learn, ”he said.

Sgt. Nathan Byrd, 26, of Catawba, North Carolina, a member of the 527th MP Company who helped Kantz check vehicles in Vilseck last Friday, said he was impressed with what he saw from his civilian counterparts .

“We are deploying a lot. I have participated in three deployments in five years. Our law enforcement skills can get a little rusty, but these guys get the job done all the time, ”he said.

Seth Robson



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