Military Police Soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood conducted a commandant-led professional development trip to the headquarters offices of the State Highway Patrol and Missouri National Guard in Jefferson City May 7.
The training, led by Brig. Gen. Brian Bisacre, U.S. Army Military Police School commandant, was carried out to familiarize MP Soldiers with how other branches of law enforcement operate so future professional cooperation is improved.
“There is a lot of operational overlap between law enforcement agencies that extends from local through federal levels,” said Maj. Matthew Songe, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence plans officer and training participant.
“If you look at events like active shooter or natural disaster responses, you’ll see lot of different state and federal uniforms on scene, and it takes a high level of coordination and mutual understanding for multiple agencies to operate effectively together,” he said.
Lt. Col. Rutledge McClain, Missouri National Guard Plans and Joint Exercises branch chief, briefed MP Soldiers on responding in coordination with the National Guard to a potential earthquake at the New Madrid fault line, which runs through southeastern Missouri.
Because of the devastating earthquakes that occurred in the region more than 200 years ago, the fault line has become a priority in natural disaster readiness planning, he said.
“On Dec. 16, 1812, there was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, which was felt all the way out to states on the east coast — New York and D.C.,” McClain said. “(There were) huge waves on the Mississippi; the ground was rising and falling, almost like an ocean tide.”
“Between mid-December until late January of 1812, (there were) three major earthquakes,” he added.
According to McClain, responders from Fort Leonard Wood, including active duty MP Soldiers, would integrate with thousands of key partners from around Missouri and surrounding states to execute damage control and recovery measures until the situation was ready to transition back to civil authorities.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Officer Lt. Joey Day explained to Soldiers the necessity in his own branch of law enforcement of working together with other agencies.
“The state patrol has to ask permission from the authority in that specific jurisdiction to conduct investigations,” he said. “For example, in our Division of Drug and Crime Control, if we want to conduct an investigation, more than likely we are requested by that agency.”
He said in the event Kansas City has a homicide and investigators there need help, “they will call us to come and help with that investigation.”
Speaking to MP Soldiers following presentations from both agencies, Bisacre said the point of the professional development day was to learn what those they work with do.
“Make an effort to go and learn about those organizations, and those capabilities — police capabilities, National Guard capabilities, Reserves capabilities,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to get called upon to work across those agencies.”
Songe, who has worked in national level law enforcement events involving hundreds of first responder agencies, said the cooperative training reinforced how vital these key partner engagements are.
“I’m always astonished at the volume of information being shared,” he said. “We were able to share and talk (about) a lot of good points that support the growth of both our organizations.”
According to Bisacre, growing together and fostering trust are both key takeaways from the event.
“Your primary job, as a leader in the Army, other than the definitions of the Army Values, is to build good teams,” he said. “Build cohesive teams that trust each other. Always keep that in the back of your mind.”