Entering the gates of Camp Smith, one may have noticed new faces checking identification cards and patrolling the base. These men and women, dressed in tan uniforms, are part of the Marine Corps Civilian Police force.
As part of a Marine Corps-wide initiative, the civilian police officers have been taking over certain installation Provost Marshal Office duties across the country.
“The garrison law enforcement side of PMO is becoming civilianized to free up Marines to work in field MP units,” said 2nd Lt. Derick Daley, Marine Corps Base Hawaii military police operations officer.
Bringing civilians on board at Camp Smith has given the military police more time to keep up with their annual training requirements and professional development.
“Marines are getting more time to do green-side training – ranges, the gas chamber and PT events,” Daley said.
The transition has been seamless, according to Daley. Procedures remain the same and civilian police officers undergo rigorous training and must be able to meet certain prerequisites and physical demands of the job.
After successful completion of physical agility and health tests and a thorough background check, Marine Corps civilian police officers become proficient in weapons handling, patrolling, search and seizure and other duties they are required to perform. They are also trained in military law, customs and courtesies. The training is conducted at the Marine Corps Civilian Police Academy at MCBH.
“The integration has been going exceptionally well,” said Daley. “A lot of them are former or retired Marines and civilian police officers along with young guys fresh out of college. They are very well trained in responding to the situations we face at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.”
With their varied background, expertise and professionalism, they help MCBH law enforcement achieve their overall mission and even bring something extra to the table.
“Considering most of them have prior military or law enforcement experience, they do the job just as good, if not better, because they bring that knowledge with them,” said Cpl. Bradley Rich, MCBH patrolman.
With one military police company working to meet the needs of Camp Smith and Kaneohe Bay, the transition comes as a relief to some of the Marines, who have been warmly receptive of their civilian counterparts.
“It’s a great thing that they’re doing this. We were working 12 to 16 hour shifts and now we’re at about 10-hour shifts,” said Sgt. Charles Ephron, MCBH patrol supervisor. “Now people have more time to PT and spend time with their families.”
Marine Corps civilian police officers have been serving at Kaneohe Bay for almost a year. The addition to the Marine Corps law enforcement community has significantly contributed to the safety of those aboard MCBH.
“[The civilians police officers] have been working exceptionally well with the Marines,” said Daley. “The service provided to Marine Corps Base Hawaii keeps getting better.”