Support: February 28, 2004

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The United States Army has 2,230 National Guard troops in training at the Army Military Police (MP) school, with 1,240 of them graduating by April, and another 990 by February, 2005. The MP school normally some 13,000 troops each year, and is running extra shifts to take care of over 6,000 National Guard troops from 18 disbanded battalions (14 artillery, three combat support and one transportation) being converted to MP companies. This will increase army MP strength 16 percent (from 37,500 to 43,500.)

The National Guard troops are having the same success rate in the training, about 90 percent, as other army trainees undergoing the four week course. A lot more is learned on the job, as the four week course only provides the basics. 

The National Guard MPs will be organized into MP companies (124 troops each) and assigned to cover for existing (and more experienced) MP companies that are being sent to Iraq. The vast majority of National Guard troops like the MP training, for a variety of reasons. For one thing. MP work is a lot cleaner and less strenuous than what goes on in an artillery battalion. Then there are the career benefits, as many MPs are successful in getting jobs in police forces around the country. There's a lot more career advancement opportunity in the MPs, as it is possible to go onto criminal investigations (military detectives). Many civilian police also serve in National Guard and reserve MP units. 

Active duty MPs act as police forces on military bases. A lot of the work is just providing security, but they also take care of the usual criminal activities (speeding, drunkenness, domestic violence, drug use, larceny, burglary and the like.) Military bases have much lower crime rates than civilian communities, but there is crime, and the MPs have to deal with it. For the more serious crimes, there are special investigators. But the MPs will usually be the first on the scene and have to know the basics of investigation and securing a crime scene. The new National Guard MP companies will have veteran MPs to help them out, but it's still a bit of an experiment to turn so many new MPs loose at once.

 


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