Service members receive roadside investigative training
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen conducted practical application training as part of a Traffic Collision Investigation Course July 7-29 on Camp Foster for the next phase of military police training.
“This course is about going from zero to hero,” said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Fuller, the instructor supervisor for the course with 343rd Security Forces Training Squadron, 37th Training Group, 37th Training Wing. “Basically, we’re taking a service member who has little to no experience with traffic collision investigation and certifying them in that field.
Basic military police duties include accident reporting, which entails gathering information and statements from drivers involved in the accident and then filing it in a report, according to Marine Staff Sgt. Glenn West, the chief accident investigator for the Provost Marshal’s Office with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler.
“This class, however, teaches you how to gather more technical information on exactly what happened (at the scene of the accident) through measurements and roadway evidence,” said West, a Jones, Oklahoma, native.
The day of practical application training took the service members out of the classroom and onto the roadways. The hands-on training familiarized the service members with what to look for at the scene of an accident.
“The job of a traffic collision investigator is to arrive at the scene of the accident, document the area by taking pictures, gathering measurements of the vehicles, the surroundings, the roadways, and collect evidence in general,” said Fuller, an Alexander City, Alabama, native. “Once all information is gathered, we’re able to use mathematical formulas that reconstruct the entire scene. That blueprint serves as an exact recreation of the accident and is used by the Uniform Code of Military Justice court of law.”
With a large demand for accident investigators around the Marine Corps, the course was brought to Camp Foster through a mobile training team instead of sending Marines to the Traffic Collision Investigation Course on Lackland Air Base in Texas.
“By bringing this course to the fleet, the Marine Corps is saving $1.5 million and gaining more highly trained Marines across all active-duty (Marine Expeditionary Forces),” said Gunnery Sgt. Antonio G. Lopez, a Calipatria, California, native and accident investigator with the Marine Detachment at Lackland Air Base, Training Command, Training and Education Command. “This course is going to be extremely beneficial for Okinawa by bringing (together) Air Force security forces, Army and Marine Corps military policeman, and Navy masters-at-arms.”