183rd RTI trains military police officers

U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers from across the country conduct their culminating training exercise during Phase II of the 31B Basic Military Police Officer Course April 2, 2015, at Fort Pickett. The course was taught by noncommissioned officers of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute and included two, two-week phases, the first focused on law and order and the second on tactical military police skills. At the conclusion of the course, the graduating students will earn the 31B Military Police Officer military occupational specialty. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers from across the country conduct their culminating training exercise during Phase II of the 31B Basic Military Police Officer Course April 2, 2015, at Fort Pickett. The course was taught by noncommissioned officers of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute and included two, two-week phases, the first focused on law and order and the second on tactical military police skills. At the conclusion of the course, the graduating students will earn the 31B Military Police Officer military occupational specialty. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers from across the country completed the 31B Basic Military Police Officer course April 4, 2015, after more than 254 hours of training at Fort Pickett’s 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. The MP course included two, two-week phases and allowed 11 Soldiers to earn the 31B Military Police Officer military occupational specialty.

The first phase of the course focuses on the basics of policing, guiding students through the law and order portion of being a military police officer in a garrison environment. The Soldiers learn how to respond to different types of police calls, including domestic violence calls, and how to conduct traffic stops.

During the first phase of this course, instructors of the 183rd RTI reached out to various contacts to bring in subject matter experts to speak with the students. Forensic nurses from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College talked to the students about sexual assault and violent crimes and their role in investigations involving violent crimes. Additionally, one of the MP course cadre members, who works with a police dog in his civilian career, brought in one of his retired police dogs to demonstrate canine capabilities to the students. The guest lecturers to the course help the students leave the schoolhouse with a solid understanding of the variety of roles that military police officers fill.

“A lot of these Soldiers are different MOSs,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Foxwell, phase chief for the second phase of the course. “They had no idea what MPs are all about.”

The second phase of the course focuses on the tactical side of being a military police officer. The Soldiers spent a few days on the range, gaining proficiency shooting the M9 pistol and became only the second class to pass the qualification test the first time around.

After qualifying, the Soldiers headed back to the classroom for additional instruction before heading out to the field to conduct hands-on training.

The final days of the course were spent in the field, with the Soldiers progressing through increasingly more fast-paced and complex training exercises. The final training allowed the students to rotate through different leadership roles within the group.

At the beginning of the course, the prospective MPs had an opportunity to introduce themselves and explain why they wanted to be MPs. Among the course attendees, there were several Soldiers who previously served in the Marine Corps, as well as several Soldiers who work as police officers in the civilian sector.

“I wanted to get my foot into law enforcement and the National Guard was hiring,” explained Sgt. Tony Montalvo, from the North Carolina National Guard. “I came from aviation maintenance with the Marine Corps, so it’s a big transition, but it’s a good transition.”

Spc. Shah Jamal, assigned to the Virginia National Guard’s 266th Military Police Company echoed the sentiment, saying he also joined in order to advance his chances in getting into civilian law enforcement.

For both senior cadre members and the students, one of the best parts of the class, was the real-world experiences the instructors brought to the course.

“The instructors are in law enforcement, every single one of them,” Montalvo said. “It’s nice to have that hands-on experience from the instructors and in the scenarios they put us through, they implement a lot of that real world experience into the training.”

Foxwell said the enthusiasm of the instructors was one thing that allowed the students to be successful in the course, but added that the class was highly motivated as well.

“Overall, having students who are here, who are attentive and who actually want to learn and are squared away and motivated makes for a great class,” Foxwell said.

Upon completion of the course, the Soldiers graduated and earned the military police military occupational specialty.

Photos: 183rd RTI trains military police officers – April 2, 2015