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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
Military police ensure Depot safety

By Cpl. Matt Barkalow | | September 14, 2005

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(Photo by Cpl. Jennifer Brofer)


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MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- The mission of the Military Police District aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is to protect life and property through law enforcement and security operations, according to Capt. Carlos Gonzalez, the Depot's Military Police District officer in charge.

The Military Police District at Parris Island essentially operates the same as a civilian law enforcement agency.

According to Gonzalez, the Provost Marshal's Office district is in charge of ensuring traffic of vehicles and pedestrians is smooth and keeps potentially dangerous vehicles off the Depot.

"The district controls vehicular and pedestrian traffic and supports all special events by maintaining 24-hour posts and patrols within the exclusive federal and concurrent jurisdiction of Parris Island," he said. "The Random Vehicle Inspection Site conducts screening of personnel and vehicles attempting to gain access to the Depot and restricts entry of undesirables while concurrently ensuring the unhindered flow of authorized personnel and vehicles."

According to Staff Sgt. Juan Hughes, watch commander, the Marines assigned to the district here are sometimes rotated every six months to and from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, as the Marines here are attached to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron at the air station.

Hughes said the military policemen work 12- to 14-hour shifts that rotate from days to nights every three months. He said even though working the long shifts can sometimes be tiring, the positive aspects outweigh it.

"The con's of this job are the long hours, working in all types of weather and not getting to enjoy the holidays like most other Marines," Hughes said. "But the pro's are helping people, getting training that is useful after the Marine Corps as a police officer and meeting different people."

According to Staff Sgt. Bernard Higdon, the PMO training chief, the military policemen go through months of training in a variety of areas and skills.

"After attending a two-month [military occupational specialty] school, MPs must attend a two-week pre-service class upon checking in to their first command," Higdon said. "MPs will receive classes on various topics to become familiar with the Provost Marshal's instructions."

Military policemen must learn professional ethics, traffic stop procedures and citations, gate and radio procedures, use of deadly force and weapons training, including the clearing and handling of them, he added.

Along with the classroom instruction MPs receive, they also go through a series of practical application courses, such as oleoresin capsicum (O.C.) spraying, defensive tactics, handcuffing tactics, the Emergency Vehicle Operators Course and 9mm pistol qualification, Higdon said.

Assisting in searching of vehicles and drivers aboard the Depot are the MP augments.

According to Gonzalez, the augments help in two-month rotations, in which they provide assistance in traffic control, special events set up and take down and random vehicle inspections.

The augments go through 20 hours of training that includes use of deadly force, vehicle searching, role of the augment, traffic control plans, force protection conditions and a shotgun proficiency enhancement shoot, Gonzalez added.

Another area of PMO that plays a key role is that of the military working dogs section.

"Military working dogs help in garrison by performing vehicle and walking patrols, gate duty, conducting drug and explosive searches during command authorized vehicle inspections and searching buildings and open areas for suspects," said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Bunt, the PMO kennel master. "The MWD section has also been tasked with providing explosive detector dogs for operations in Iraq. Several MWD handlers and dogs have deployed in support of this effort, producing outstanding results."

Some of the other jobs MPs perform that are not usually visible to the masses are accident investigator, special reaction team, criminal investigator, police records and animal control.  

Gonzalez said that through good, quality training, the MPs aboard the Depot provide the best security possible to Marines and their families.


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