MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
By fall 2010, or sooner, residents and employees of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany may see more uniformed Marines serving as law enforcement here.
This change is due to base law enforcement making a transition from an all- civilian force to a more "blended" force that will include both Marine and civil servants.
"Since the inception of this program, we've conducted revalidations," said Sean Lamonzs, deputy police chief, Marine Corps Police Department, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany. "Senior representatives from Headquarters Marine Corps, (the Tiger team), reviewed the security requirements of the installation. There are a lot of different variables."
These variables include many different aspects of the base including size, security requirements, support services and the fact the base has a commercial vehicle entry point. From these variables the Tiger Team decided that a blended force would serve MCLB Albany much better, Lamonzs said.
"Right now we are one of only three bases in the Marine Corps that have an all-civilian police force," Lamonzs said. "It's us, Blount Island Command and Barstow, Calif. Of course, the first eight academies were held here in Albany before the Marine Corps moved the training to Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Marine Corps Civilian Law Enforcement Program used to be a four-week academy, but has grown to 10 weeks."
The Marine Corps initiated MCCLEP due to operations overseas. More Marine military police were needed in such regions as Iraq and Afghanistan to fulfill operational roles. This left a gap which needed to be filled at Marine Corps installations back in the continental United States, Lamonzs said.
This meant that civilians were needed to perform extremely valuable law enforcement capabilities such as resolving domestic violence, guarding entry points, patrolling, and filling the role of a Special Reactionary Team, a small tactical unit that is used by the base commanding officer to resolve unique situations. The Marine Requirement Oversight Council, which reports directly to the commandant of the Marine Corps, is responsible for such an organizational transition.
"We will also blend the SRT, which will consist of four Marine MPs and three civil servants," Lamonzs said. "This will allow for a greater surge capability which we do not have without calling upon our augmentation forces."
To serve on an SRT, the civil servants will have to meet the exact same requirements as their Marine counterparts. These requirements pertain to both physical fitness as well as marksmanship standards. This also includes a three- week course at Fort Leonard Wood, Miss., Lamonzs said.
"The idea is to move from four watches to six watches,” Lamonzs said. “This will mean one Marine watch commander and five civilian-Marine commanders. This will also be the same for desk sergeants; one Marine desk sergeant and five civilian-Marine desk sergeants and the rest of the force will be blended throughout. We're getting ranks anywhere from senior staff noncommissioned officer to lance corporals."
It's important to note that the influx of Marines to the MCLB Albany Police Department is not a reflection of the mission capability of the force at large. Recently, MCLB Albany's civilian law enforcement has received high marks in graded exercises such as the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection exercise, which was conducted in February, as well as the Commanding General's Inspection.
"Many of these law-enforcement officers have previous experience as police officers in local departments in the region or as Marines," Lamonzs said "It's a well seasoned force to begin with. Having Marines with operational experience overseas will only serve to broaden an already professional experience base."