Youth try MP field for week Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Story and photos by Melissa Buckley
GUIDON staff
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Young adults from across the country were on post last week to get a first-hand experience of what it is like to be a military police Soldier in the U.S. Army.

The 701st MP Battalion hosted the National Law Enforcement Explorer Academy on Fort Leonard Wood from July 13 to 20.
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Staff Sgt. Kenneth Andrews helps 17-year-old Jordan Ford on the M9 pistol range during the week long NLEEA.

“It gives a full picture to young law enforcement explorers. They can see how the military police force works. It shows them the garrison side, as well as the combat side. Some people think we just work the roads,” said Staff Sgt. Meliza Rodriguez, NLEEA non-commissioned officer-in-charge.

Twenty-nine people, ages 16-20, had the opportunity to train with members of the U.S. Army Military Police School during the eight-day academy. The academy provided practical training and leadership experience, as well as an exploration of careers within the Military Police Corps.

“The most important thing they can take away from this is discipline, personal courage and the Army’s core values,” Rodriguez said. “This will put them ahead of their peers. They will be mentally and physically tougher when they leave here. They are pushing their bodies to do new things.”

Explorers are selected from across the United States to attend the academy through a competitive application process that is reviewed by a board of senior law enforcement officials at the federal, state and local level.

Seventeen-year-old, Ashley Pinto, form New Milford, Conn., said she was overjoyed when she found out her packet had been selected.

 “People from all over the country apply and they only can pick a select few. It felt amazing to be chosen,” Pinto said. “I’m looking into pursuing a career in the military. My step-dad was an MP. I’ve always been interested in law enforcement.”

The explorers participated in hands-on training to gain an understanding of military police work such as protective services, law enforcement and confinement operations, traffic and patrol incidents and the military working dog program. They experienced daily military police life, including Physical Readiness Training, the Army Physical Fitness Test, field training exercises, barracks life and Meals Ready to Eat.

“One of the most challenging events for them is the usually the M9 (pistol) range, because they are they have live ammunition and they’ve only had about five hours of training prior to this,” Rodriguez said.

Pinto enjoyed the MP displays and K9 kennel visit.

“I enjoyed the military police base where they have all of their equipment. We saw the different vehicles and watched a video about military working dogs,” Pinto said. “It gives me a better idea of what the military is like. Even just walking by we can see the trainees and what they are doing. It’s interesting.”

Rodriguez was impressed by the determination of the explorers and said she was glad to have the opportunity to help mold their futures.

“They are so focused. The average teenager wants nothing to do with law enforcement — let alone come to a Military Police Academy,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like we make a difference in their lives. A lot of these explorers have never really been pushed like this. Seeing them work and grow day-by-day, conquering their fears is gratifying.”

Pinto, headed into her senior year, said the NLEEA has helped her become more focused.

“Sometimes I slack off a little bit. This has shown me if I believe I can do something, I will accomplish it,” Pinto said.

The week culminated with a graduation ceremony on the Military Police Memorial Grove.

Fort Leonard Wood is one of four national academies to host the academy biennially.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 August 2013 )