August 14, 2014 —
CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. - Instructors at the New York Army National Guard's 106th Regional Training Institute here are cramming 20 weeks of classroom, field training and on-the-job instruction in police methods into an intense four-week training program.
And on Friday, 18 New York Army National Guard Soldiers are to graduate from the course to reclassify as Military Police officers.
Through classroom instruction and scenario-based training, they are taught how to protect lives and property by enforcing military laws and regulations, as well as traffic control, crime prevention and responding to emergencies.
"Our students are already Soldiers and come with basic warrior skills, so we can focus on military police functions like civil law and jurisdiction, investigating and collecting evidence techniques, traffic and crowd control and suspect arrest and restraint procedures," said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Seidenstein, senior instructor for the course.
According to Seidenstein, once students graduate they will also be prepared to support battlefield operations by conducting security, internment and resettlement of civilians, provide law and order to include criminal investigations and confinement of U.S. military prisoners and conduct police intelligence operations.
The 106th Regional Training Institute (RTI) is an Army National Guard unit that trains Soldiers, officer and non-commissioned officers across New York State and the northeast. The 106th's 1st Battalion specializes in military police proficiency training.
It's a lot to learn in just four weeks, said Lt. Col. Robert Giordano, commander of the 1st Bn, 106th RTI. Their instructors are well versed, rounded and up to the task. They include several members of various police and fire departments, professors in criminal justice and senior finance experts, to name a few.
"Their wealth of knowledge creates a high caliber of teachers," Giordano said. "We want the most proficient MP's possible teaching and mentoring the next generation of MP's. Our instructors have what it takes to lead by example."
According to Giordano, instructors are selected based on their leadership qualities and combat experience. Once selected for the 3-year commitment, they attend both basic and small group instructor courses, complete a rigorous on-the-job teaching program and are evaluated by senior leaders before being certified by the U.S. Army Military Police School.
"I am really impressed with the structured training and hands-on opportunities," said Spc. Michael Jankowski. Jankowski, a Gowanda, N.Y. resident, is a former Marine forward observer who joined the National Guard's 105th Military Police Company to become a military police officer.
"The student to instructor ratio makes it possible to ask questions and I really appreciate the opportunity to practice what we're learning, rather than being taught and then told to go out and do it," Jankowski added.
The course employs up to 11 instructors who interact with students and provide administrative and logistics support as well as instruction. Having a large force allows instructors to increase capacity during critical times such as ranges, practical exercises or when more hands-on instruction is needed, Giordano explained.
"Our instructors teach to task standard because it's critical our students learn how to do this job right. We don't cut corners and we don't check the block - if and when retraining is needed, the task is done over and over until it's done correctly," Giordano emphasized.
For Army National Guard Spec. Brian Toribio, a Jamiaca, Queens, resident, reclassifying from an automated logistical specialist to a Military Police officer is a perfect fit because he aspires to be a New York State Trooper. A member of the 442 MP Co., Toribio is attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
"I want a career in law enforcement because I have a passion for justice and want to help keep my community safe," Toribio said.
"Taking this course gives me an advantage at college because I already have hands-on experience with a lot of basic law enforcement responsibilities and techniques," Toribio said. "It's great for me because I enjoy learning aspects of both sides and can combine my civilian and military education with discipline and knowledge to be a better police officer."