War on Terrorism

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Military Police Begin New Law, Order Mission in Basra

By Army Spc. Darryl L. Montgomery
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 15, 2009 - A new law and order force is now on duty here to provide a safe and secure environment for servicemembers. Military police of the 34th Military Police Company began patrolling the base here July 11 due to the combined efforts of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division provost marshal's office and Special Troops Battalion.

The mission includes mounted and dismounted patrols of the living support areas and common areas, said Army Lt. Col. Dale Slimmer, provost marshal for Multinational Division South.

Military police 'help desk' operations are conducted from the Base Defense Operations Center. Residents can report emergencies, request assistance or report complaints, Slimmer said.

Anything a citizen would expect from the police back home, soldiers should be able to expect from the MPs here once the program is fully operational, said Army Capt. Matthew Dick, operations officer for the 34th Infantry Division's provost marshal's office.

"This can range from vehicle accidents, lost identification cards, criminal activities or suspicious activities," said Slimmer, a Little Falls, Minn., native. "From the [operations center], the fire department, ambulance, military police or quick-reaction force will be dispatched depending on the emergency."

Military police have been conducting training on a variety of skills, including community policing, enforcement, personal protection, reporting, investigations, crime-scene management and military law, leading up to the beginning of the program's start date, Slimmer said.

"Because of the uniqueness of this project, there were no existing resources to fall in on," he said, "The COB Basra [law enforcement agency] will be built from the ground up."

Since the program is still in a developmental stage, Slimmer and Dick said base residents should not expect full police force capabilities right away.

"As it develops, you can begin to expect the services to mature," said Dick, a Coon Rapids, Minn. native.

Slimmer said the new project will continue to grow even after the 34th ID redeploys. He and his team encourage base residents to provide feedback as well as support.

"This was a need immediately identified when we arrived here," Dick said. "I'm looking forward to being able to fill that need."

(Army Spc. Darryl L. Montgomery serves in Multinational Division South.)

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