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Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is participating in a program sponsored by the U.S. Army War College Homeland Defense and Security Issues Group in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The year-long program, “Defense Support to Civilian Law Enforcement” is a study of the relationship between the military and the law enforcement community in times of extreme crisis. Through a series of workshops, the study is examining potential relationships between the U.S. Army and law enforcement during major catastrophes that are long in duration and widespread in impact, across many local and state jurisdictions.
The Army prepares for all possible missions, and among them may be major natural disasters and other extreme national security events that overtax the capabilities and capacities of local, state, and traditional law enforcement agencies. Such scenarios are characterized by destruction that would be extensive, extended over long periods of time, and widespread. These types of missions call for institutional relationships and planning far beyond the norm. The purpose of Army War College is to better understand why and how local communities may find that their local public safety officials require military resources and support. Currently, when civilian authorities request DOD assistance, that Homeland Defense mission is identified as (DSCLEA) Defense Support to Civilian Law Enforcement. Examples include the Republican and Democratic national conventions, and augmentation of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The military support of law enforcement is executed according to laws that prohibit the active Army from traditional police functions such as arrest, apprehension, and interrogation.
More than 80 participants from across the country will take part in the series of work groups over the course of the program. Each participant was carefully selected based on their subject matter expertise in local, state, and federal law enforcement, and defense support of natural disasters. Sheriff Jenkins recently attended the third such workshop in Washington, D.C., hosted by the U.S. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms on Capitol Hill.
According to Sheriff Jenkins, “The mock scenarios discussed are real world current threats such as long lasting outage of the bulk power system, wide-spread terrorist sponsored attacks, and similar type events that we have never seen before in America. These conversations generate ideas, identify challenges that are compounded to extreme levels, and present both the most logical and extreme solutions to extreme potential problems faced by law enforcement in the days, weeks, and months following an event.” Participants all agree there is a larger question; what is the role of the military in support of law enforcement, exactly where is the intersection between law enforcement and the military, and do the leaders understand that intersection. “These conversations and exercises go hand-in-hand with our Homeland Security planning efforts in the Sheriff’s Office.” Sheriff Jenkins will continue to participate in the periodic work group sessions through the fall of 2016.