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Partnership to Help Army Reserve, D.C. Police Share Same Talent Pool

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2008 – The adage, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” got a new twist today as the Army Reserve and the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia signed a partnership deal so they can recruit, hire and train people for both organizations.

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Cathy Lanier (seated, left), chief of the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, and Army Maj. Gen. Peter Cook from the Army Reserve sign a partnership agreement to collaborate on recruiting during a July 14, 2008, ceremony. Looking on, left, are Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Thomas Hall and Command Sgt. Maj. Leon Caffie, the top Army Reserve noncommissioned officer. Defense Dept. photo by Donna Miles

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MPDC became the first law enforcement agency to partner with the Army Reserve in a unique arrangement that Army Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, called a win-win for the military as well as the police. Instead of competing for the same talent pool, they can now join forces to fill their ranks and train their members.

The agreement, signed at the Metropolitan Police Academy here, enables Army Reserve recruiters to refer recruits signing on as military police or active-duty military police joining the Army Reserve for civilian jobs with the MPDC. Similarly, the police department can refer its members for Army Reserve jobs.

The arrangement will enable the two organizations to help each other fill critical shortages while also taking advantage of the training and experience base both provide their members, Stultz said.

Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, noted today that the Army Reserve and MPDC are looking for recruits with many of the same attributes. Both want honest, drug-free members who know how to lead as well as follow and love their country and communities, he said.

Army 1st Sgt. Ryan Ervin of the 200th Military Police Command at Fort Meade, Md., also an MPDC officer, said the Metropolitan Police Department and Army Reserve both stand to benefit from sharing the professional, career-minded and goal-oriented recruits each attracts. Army experience gives police recruits an ability to think on their feet, work within a command structure and show flexibility when it’s needed, he said.

Meanwhile, Stultz said, civilian police experience brings strong negotiating, interrogation and crime scene investigation skills to the Army Reserve.

The MPDC partnership is the Army Reserve’s fifth so far, but about 50 others are in the works and nearly 150 additional employers have expressed interest in forming one.

What makes the concept so popular, even in the face of reserve deployments, is that it helps employers realize the upside of hiring Army Reservists, Stultz said. “Don’t look at the Reserve as a drain on your force. Look at it as a value added,” he said he tells employers.

As the long list of employers considering new partnerships grows, it’s evident that employers already recognize the attributes Army Reservists bring to their work force, said Army Col. Dianna Cleven, an Office of the Army Reserve director. The advantage of partnerships, she said, is that it provides a formal structure so employers can find and tap into the Army Reserve’s talent base while also providing an avenue for Army Reservists to link up with potential employers.

“It’s a mechanism to link reservists looking for jobs in specific skills,” Cleven said. “We’re providing that mechanism through these partnerships that helps them connect the dots.”

The MPDC, which needs to recruit about 350 police officers a year, sees the Army Reserve as a prime recruiting ground, Assistant Chief Joshua Ederheimer said during today’s partnership signing ceremony at the Metropolitan Police Academy. He noted that the two organizations share a cultural ethos of service and sacrifice, with their members understanding and accepting personal risk to protect their fellow citizens.

Meanwhile, because the Army Reserve provides 93 percent of the Army’s total military police force, its members who report for duty with the MPDC arrive with extensive military police training already under their belts.

Some arrive after active-duty assignments in military police units. Others are new recruits who attend basic training, then advanced individual training in military police skills before reporting to their Army Reserve units and starting their civilian careers.

“By that time, he is not just a high school graduate. Now he is a soldier,” Stultz said. “He’s got discipline. He’s got leadership. He’s got a work ethic and he’s had training. Then (MPDC) can take him and develop him further.”

MPDC Chief Cathy Lanier called the new partnership “a very significant and important step for us” that will help her department recruit and retain the high-skilled work force it it needs. “It will help make our force stronger and our city safer,” she said.

Lanier can look within her own force for a glimpse into what the new partnership will offer. One of her officers, Greg Naguerka, arrived at the Metropolitan Police Academy in 2005 with seven years of military police experience that he said gave him a big leg up over his fellow police cadets.

Now an Army Reserve staff sergeant with the 200th Military Police Command at Fort Meade, Md., Nagurerka said his Army experience made him mentally prepared and physically fit for his police training and provided a strong foundation for his police career.

Army Sgt. Scott Dignan served with the MPDC for six years before joining the Army Reserve 12 years ago, and said the military has trained and tested him in ways that have boosted his civilian career.

“It has opened my eyes to a whole different way of leading and has been a true asset to me,” said Dignan, now a lieutenant with the Metropolitan Police Department. “Between the leadership training and the deployments, it has taught me a lot about myself and given me experience that’s been invaluable.”

Stultz called today’s signing ceremony a big day not just for the Army Reserve, but for the Army as a whole, which counts on its citizen-soldiers to sustain the all-volunteer force. To do that, he said, the Army Reserve needs to work cooperatively with civilian employers.

“A number of employers out there are saying that this is a great idea,” and a way to attract everything from truck drivers to medical technologists to engineers to law enforcement officers to their work forces. “You name it, we’ve got it,” Stultz said. “Partnerships help provide the conduit.”

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Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz

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Army Reserve

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz (left), chief of the Army Reserve, chats with Army Reserve soldiers who also serve in the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia during a July 14, 2008, partnership ceremony. Photo by Donna Miles  
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