Law Enforcement Professionalism: Training is Key in Accelerating Change

In March 2021, the Director of Security Forces commissioned three, multi-major command reviews to assess training, review policy, strategy, and guidance, and evaluate mindset.

The reviews provided insights suggesting the force should realign on base defense. The Defender NEXT 32 (DEFNEXT32) initiative is an Enterprise-wide initiative that aims to refocus Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) competencies as the Security Forces foundation.

The Total Force Approach is focused on optimizing the execution of ABGD through training. Security Forces will continue to refine lines of effort to ensure all Defenders are not just qualified but proficient at core skills.

Defenders must be proficient at core skills to ensure they have the muscle memory to analyze and determine appropriate actions for a variety of different scenarios. Training must be executed as it will be performed on duty because failure to do so has the potential to lead to catastrophic consequences.

Training is an investment. Proper training provides our Total Force Defenders with the agility necessary to address future conflicts in high-threat areas and pressing worldwide commitments, flight line security, resource protection, and base security zone coordination.

The implementation of 10 U.S.C. § 2672 (Secretary of Defense has not conferred), will grant statutory law enforcement authority to civilian and military law enforcement professionals. This authority will enhance the Department’s capability to protect the readiness and safety of Department of Defense (DoD) assets, military personnel, and their families.

In support of the Enterprise’s law enforcement activities, Security Forces is making changes that serve to address its present and future. Questioning training programs, content, and projected benefits have allowed Security Forces to develop programs of instructions, to not only meet Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation, but also the DoD Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Accreditation.

By adhering to these criteria, Squadrons performing police activities are provided with personnel who meet the standards outlined in the Attorney General Guidelines and DoD Instruction 5525.15, Law Enforcement (LE) Standards and Training in the DoD, which describes the DoD POST program.

DoD Law Enforcement (LE) is professional, effective, efficient, and, often, regarded as a model to follow worldwide. Adherence to the highest standards and fundamentals of professionalism is essential to the profession of law enforcement; training constitutes the glue of effectiveness that forms the foundation for successful law enforcement efforts.

Security Forces will continue to train, sustain, and credential Defenders to ensure they meet the need for Credentialed Law Enforcement across the Enterprise. Currently, no DoD law enforcement organization is POST certified; however, the POST Commission has accredited five training programs’ curricula: Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), Marine Corps Civilian Police Academy, Air Force Security Forces Civilian Police Academy through the Department of Veteran Affairs Law Enforcement Training Center (VA-LETC), and the United States Army Military Police School (USAMPS) Civilian Police Academy and Basic Officer Leaders Course. Security Forces collaborated with the Veteran’s Administration and the United States Marine Corps in order to enhance our law enforcement professionalism:

“The Department of the Air Force Civilian Police Academy at VA-LETC was designed to meet the needs of the Air Force Security Forces and their growing civilian police force.” Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) - Office of Operations, Security, and Preparedness (va.gov)

“The Marine Corps Civilian Police Academy – Basic Police Officer Course (BPOC) was developed to provide training in support of Civilian Law Enforcement Program. The BPOC has been updated to create the competencies needed for the student to perform Air Force and Marine Corps installation law enforcement duties.” Marine Corps Police Academy (marines.mil)

 

These programs focus on 13 functional areas of basic law enforcement and consist of traditional law enforcement functions to include police patrol, response to calls for service, traffic management and hands-on instruction in firearms, non-lethal weapons tactics and techniques, law enforcement subjects, use of force continuum, force protection and basic reaction force tactics.

 

This is foundational to Security Forces’ DEFNEXT32 initiatives as it continues to enhance law enforcement professionalism. This has several positive impacts, including good service to the public, ethical conduct, strong community support, as well as respect and a stronger role in the protection of the readiness and safety of DoD assets, military personnel, and their families.

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