Marine Corps creates law enforcement battalions

(AP)   The Marine Corps has created its first law enforcement battalions – a lean, specialized force of military police officers that it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.

The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas, said Maj. Jan Durham, commander of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton.

The idea behind the law enforcement battalions is to consolidate the military police and capitalize on their investigative skills and police training, he said. The new additions come as every branch in the military is trying to show its flexibility and resourcefulness amid defense cuts.

Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps, Durham said.

The war on terror has also taught troops the importance of learning how to gather intelligence, secure evidence and assist local authorities in building cases to take down criminal networks. Troops have gotten better at combing raid sites for clues to help them track insurgents.

They also have changed their approach, realizing that marching into towns to show force alienates communities. Instead, they are being taught to fan out with interpreters to strike up conversations with truck drivers, money exchangers, cellphone sellers and others. The rapport building can net valuable information that could even alert troops about potential attacks.

But no group of Marines is better at that kind of work than the Corps’ military police, who graduate from academies just like civilian cops, Durham said. He said the image of military police patrolling base to ticket Marines for speeding or drinking has limited their use in the Corps. He hopes the creation of the battalions will change that, although analysts say only the future will tell whether the move is more than just a rebranding of what already existed within the Corps.

The battalions will be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects. Durham said they could assist local authorities in allied countries in securing crime scenes and building cases so criminals end up behind bars and not back out on the streets because of mistakes.

“Over the past 11 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some lessons learned painfully, there has been a growing appreciation and a demand for, on the part of the warfighter, the unique skills and capabilities that MPs bring to the fight,” Durham said. “We do enforce traffic laws and we do write reports and tickets, and that’s good, but we do so much more than that.”

Durham said the Marine Corps plans to show off its new battalions in Miami later this month at a conference put on by the Southern Command and that is expected to be attended by government officials from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize.

Defense analyst Loren Thompson said the battalions make sense given the nature of today’s global threats, which include powerful drug cartels and other criminal gangs that often mix with religious and political extremists, who use the profits to buy their weaponry.

“This is a smart idea because the biggest single problem the Marines have in dealing with low-intensity types of threats is that they basically are trained to kill people,” he said. “It’s good for the Marines to have skills that allow them to contain threats without creating casualties.”

Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University, said Marines have already been doing this kind of work for years but now that it has been made more formal by the creation of the battalions, it could raise a host of questions, especially on the use of force. The law of war allows for fighters to use deadly force as a first resort, while police officers use it as a last resort.

If Marines are sent in to do law enforcement but are attacked, will they go back to being warfighters? And if so, what are the implications? Solis asked.

“Am I a Marine or a cop? Can I be both?” he said. “Cops apply human rights law and Marines apply the law of war. Now that it’s blended, it makes it tougher for the young men and women who have to make the decision as to when deadly force is not appropriate.”

Durham said that military police understand that better than any Marine since they are trained in both.

“They are very comfortable with the escalation of force,” he said. “MPs get that. It’s fundamental to what we do.”

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MARINES_LAW_ENFORCEMENT_BATTALION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-22-17-33-46

2 Responses to Marine Corps creates law enforcement battalions

  • INTERNATIONAL LAW forbids harming the citizens of any country involved in combat operations by any group of soldiers,TO bad the marines never knew this cause if they did,EVERY marine who went to VIET NAM would be in prison for life…..they used to herd the villagers out into a rice patty,pick out all the young girls,rape them,cut them to pieces and then throw them down in front of the families who were begging for mercy and crying because they knew after the marines were done with their girls they would all be shot to death,and they always were……these marines will do the same thing right HERE in america when the ORDER IS GIVEN,these animals are so brainwashed they will kill their own family,brothers and little sisters or their own dog,AND THEY WILL BE ON THE STREETS OF AMERICA,this country has really lost its mind,and thats for sure because this proves it…………

  • THE FOUNDING FATHERS warned the people to NEVER allow the military to be the police on the streets,these animals were trained to KILL,is there some part of that you people are to stupid to understand?????????……..you want your arms and legs blown off,what about your children don’t you care about them?? this can’t be, americans are to well schooled to allow this…WAR is not a game..not everyone dies in war sometimes their eye is gone or their leg or an arm….remember there won’t be nothing open to buy for injuries or the dead being picked up they’ll rot in the streets right where they were killed, the air will smell like dead rotting meat,this will make survivors sick and most of them will die from desease,caused by rotting corpes laying in the streets…DO YOU UNDERSTAND……………..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show some support!

We are 100% Listener & User supported!! Every little bit helps us continue. Donations help fund the site and keep all the free information on it. Thanks in advance and KEEP UP THE FIGHT!!!

Visitor Map

Subscribe For New Posts & Updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to FederalJack and Popeyeradio and you will receive notifications of new posts by email.

News Categories
The Wigner Effect
Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team