HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) and the Massachusetts National Guard celebrated the historic milestone of 47 Guardsmen graduating from a reserve civilian police academy during a ceremony at the Joint Force Headquarters here, Aug. 2, 2014.
This a significant event in the Massachusetts National Guard’s Police Mission Partnership Initiative (PMPI) that began in 2012 to systematically improve its domestic police support capability and individual law enforcement career opportunities for its personnel.
The MPTC, in partnership with the Massachusetts National Guard, the Worcester Police Department, and the Massachusetts State Police, designed the training to bridge the gap between the training that military police and security forces receive, with that of civilian police departments.
The goal of this initiative is to combine Army and Air Guard military police and security forces personnel into a more capable force package for augmenting civilian police in domestic emergencies. The program benefits the commonwealth by leveraging the training and experience of military personnel. Many of the instructors are dual career police professionals who concurrently serve the commonwealth as both civilian and military police officers. Maj. Richard P. Cipro, pilot reserve police academy director, is a Worcester Police sergeant.
The initiative also gives Citizen Soldiers and Airmen enhanced career opportunities to be hired as reserve officers by civilian police departments. Civilian police departments may now recruit and hire from this pool of trained reserve police officers without incurring the expense of sending them to a police academy.
The reserve police officer certification training was conducted during two-week annual training periods and two drill weekends as part of federally required law enforcement skills recertification program for military police.
Natick Police Chief, James G. Hicks, explained the significance from his perspective saying, “We need to hire good people. Sometimes we don’t have the resources to train them, so for me to have a good person in front of me that’s already trained is a goldmine,” Hicks said.
These Guardsmen may also be called to duty by the governor to augment any police department in need of assistance during an emergency with virtually the same training and equipment as the agencies they are supporting.
Recently, more than 800 armed National Guard Military Police and Security Forces from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine assisted federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in eight cities and towns to keep the route safe for runners as they hit the road for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Discussing the significance of the program, Lt. Col. Sharon Costine, Division Commander, Massachusetts State Police said, “I just think it’s a great initiative and speaking on behalf of Colonel Alben we’ve been proud to help even in a small way and we’ve worked hand-in-hand with the National Guard during the Boston Marathon and the July 4th celebration, so to be able to have that extra layer of security for us is amazing.”