CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. — More than 60 military police from the Massachusetts National Guard were deputized in an official swearing-in ceremony conducted at the Joint Visitors Information Bureau here, June 8, 2010.
The Soldiers from the 972nd Military Police Company, based out of Reading, are conducting law enforcement operations here in support of the eXportable Combat Training Capability, or XCTC, exercise and were sworn in by Barnstable County Sheriff James M. Cummings.
Cummings said the MPs of the 972nd now have the authority to enforce any law that may result in a disturbance of the peace on Camp Edwards. This new authority is in addition to their normal military police functions.
The 972nd will put their newly deputized Soldiers on the roads to conduct traffic and range safety patrols during XCTC to provide additional safety for the large influx of civilian and military personnel working and training on the base.
XCTC is the largest pre-deployment training exercise conducted on Camp Edwards since World War II and consists of Soldiers training on a series of field exercises designed to simulate an overseas environment. The goal of this training is to provide high quality, realistic battlefield experience for approximately 2,000 Soldiers as they prepare for mobilization in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
With an increase of personnel, vehicle movement and high tempo training brought on with XCTC, the risk of accidents increases as does the need for increased law-enforcement patrolling.
The MPs have not actively worked on Camp Edwards in more than ten years. During the interim the Massachusetts State Police and contract security have handled the responsibility of post security.
The 972nd began their mission on June 1 and will continue until the conclusion of the XTC exercise near the end of the month.
“Our mission is to ensure a safe training environment,” said Maj. Bryan K. Pillai, Camp Edwards provost marshal.
“This is a great opportunity to use our law enforcement training,” said Pillai. “These competencies are what we rely on while deployed to train Afghan and Iraqi police.”
Pvt. Brett M. Mohr, a military police Soldier with the 972nd said her duties here reiterate the importance of the job MPs are performing. Mohr, a South Boston native, added that the safety patrols are a good thing with the large numbers of people here for XCTC.
Pfc. Eddie Gomez, a 972nd MP from Clinton said the assignment was a great experience and he was proud to be providing security and safety for the Soldiers training on post.
“This Ceremony demonstrates a level of interagency cooperation that is unique to the Massachusetts National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Sellars, commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
“The Massachusetts Guard has along standing and mutually beneficial relationship with local officials and agencies,” said Lt. Col. Jack McKenna, public affairs officer, Massachusetts National Guard.
“We have a great relationship with all branches of the service,” said Cummings. “We’re thrilled to have them here.”