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2nd Lt. James Whitcher, a student at the Marine Military Police Officer Basic Course, goes through incident reports during the Watch Officer Exercise at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, March 28, 2016. The Watch Officer Exercise was the culminating event for all the training the students have gone through during the course.

Photo by Cpl. David Staten

Marines at new MPOBC go through Watch Officer Exercise

4 Apr 2016 | Cpl. David Staten The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marine Corps officers participated in the Watch Officer Exercise while training at the Military Police Officer Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, March 24-28, 2016.  

The Marine MPOBC is a 70-day training course. The instructors train the students in police advising and training, law enforcement training, conducting law enforcement training, expeditionary forensics and preparing them for garrison and expeditionary law enforcement.

Until the summer of 2015, Marine Corps military police officers attended the Army’s MP Basic Officer Course, which included a good amount training Marines previously learned at The Basic School.  Now, all future MP Marine officers attend the Marine MPOBC, an exclusive Marine Corps training course.

“We were tasked at the school house to develop military police basic officer course strictly for Marine lieutenants and young company grade officers,” said Capt. Tate Blenke, officer instructor and curriculum developer for Military Police Basic Officer Course. “We implemented our own curriculum and were able to take Marine Corps orders, policies, standard operating procedures and teach Marine Corps officers exactly what they should be doing at a provost marshal office or at a law enforcement battalion directly after MOS school.”

The second iteration of the new course began in January.  The course includes a Watch Officer Exercise, which is meant to simulate the daily duties at a provost marshal office and is geared toward garrison law enforcement.   

“The importance of this exercise is to give the students the opportunity to serve in a leadership role where they will be in charge of Marines and Marine Corps civilian law enforcement professionals,” said Blenke. “Marines may be in charge at a provost marshal office at any base or station.”

Students participated in realistic training scenarios such as medical assists, domestic assaults, sexual assaults, active shooter, suspicious packages, traffic stops, access control and paper work during the exercise. Students also rotated in and out of the desk sergeant role while gaining an understanding of how calls are dispatched and how notifications are made for incident reports.

“The hardest part of this training exercise is definitely communication along with command and control within the scenarios,” said Blenke. “This exercise trains the students to be able to conduct themselves appropriately and professionally in a garrison law enforcement environment.

“If for instance there’s a domestic dispute, the students would need to control those individuals, get the information, paint a picture for dispatch so dispatch can put that into their logs as well as when they can come back they can fill out their incident report later on.”

This exercise was the culminating event for all the training the students have gone through so far.  

“Previously the course was with the Army and my favorite part now is being just with Marines,” said 2nd Lt. Payton Roberts, a student at the Marine MPOBC. “A lot of Marines go to the provost marshal office and law enforcement battalions, so we get to focus on those two different aspects in this course. We really focus on what the Marine Corps does in the MP community.”

The new course allows students to lead enlisted Marines who are at the Military Police Basic School giving them the opportunity to test things they have been taught during the course.

“The importance of separating from the Army is very structured to where we also jump in with the enlisted Marines,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Clarkin, course chief at the Marine MPOBC. “The students get that leadership perspective before they go to the fleet and get the opportunity to interact with enlisted Marines before they hit the operating force.”

The officers will have a chance to put their skills to use with the enlisted military police students during the upcoming Law Enforcement Professional Exercise in April to evaluate their skills in an expeditionary environment. 

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