Japan Self-Defense Force experiences military police responsibilities
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — -- Service members are scattered in groups across a parking lot. Bright red lights of a police car flash as Marines and members of the Japan Self-Defense Force observe how to secure a suspect in handcuffs before trying the techniques themselves.
U.S. Marine military police worked with members of the JSDF Aug. 5 to train for standard field sobriety tests and demonstrate equipment they use regularly during a visit to the Provost Marshal’s Office on Camp Foster.
The training began with an orientation to introduce the day’s events.
“We showed them our capabilities for responding to emergency services,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Keith Lowell, the south district officer in charge of PMO, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “We have the (Special Reaction Team) and military working dog displays, and we taught them how to conduct a standard field sobriety test.”
The SFST consists of three consecutive tests: a one-leg stand, walk and turn and horizontal gaze. Each test helps military police determine whether a suspect may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The members of the JSDF also had the opportunity to see the equipment used by the SRT, which acts as a special weapons and tactics unit for U.S. military installations, as well as military working dogs in action.
“Following a brief demonstration and practical application of the SFST, (members of) the JSDF had the opportunity to look inside a law enforcement sedan and understand how a subject would be detained and transported utilizing the vehicle,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Christopher M. Bibeau, the deputy provost marshal with PMO, MCB Camp Butler, MCIPAC.
During the visit, members of the JSDF learned how U.S. Marine military police execute their duties, according to Lowell, a Fallbrook, California, native. The way PMO operates on Okinawa is the standard for all provost marshals’ offices, and they want to establish continuity for the way situations are handled.
The JSDF has roles similar to the Marine Corps’ military police, according to Japan Air Self-Defense Force Staff Sgt. Akinori Kobayashi, a security guard with 83rd Air Wing, Naha Air Base. The difference is the organization of duties, equipment used, and amount of people available to accomplish different tasks.
By communicating how their daily jobs are completed, the Marines and JSDF service members not only collaborated, but also broke down barriers, according to Bibeau, an Edgewood, New Mexico, native.
“(The JSDF’s visit) increases and reaffirms our commitment to peace in the region,” said Bibeau. “It increases the ability of the host nation and (U.S.) forces to understand each other’s capabilities.”
After sharing a lunch at the Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster, members of the JSDF presented a capabilities and organizational briefing depicting the type of equipment that the security unit would most likely use, and how they train their forces.
By hosting the JSDF, the Marine Corps military police were able to demonstrate how they contribute to the safety of Okinawa, according to Lowell. It also allows the service members to understand the equipment they might see U.S. military police carry, and what the functions for the equipment are.
“We work very closely with our host nation,” said Lowell. “I think it’s important to communicate effectively so that we can work together in case of crisis. It’s good for them to know how we work so that we can work together.”