Assist, Protect, and Defend. To some, just words on the side of a car; to the military police, they are the lifeblood of the occupation. Weeks of training are conducted to ensure personnel on Fort Bragg are kept safe day in and day out.

More than 30 military police officers from the 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne) were put through the paces during the Law Enforcement Officer Certification course, March 18 through 29.

“The LEOC course teaches our military police and Department of the Army civilian police on the local procedures that we use and the laws at this installation,” said Rex Williams, a captain in the DA civilian law enforcement agency and the branch chief of training for the Provost Marshal Office on Fort Bragg.

The two-week course is required annually for all military law enforcement personnel and covers a variety of training, to include the proper use of non-lethal means of apprehending a suspect, defensive driving and evidence collection.

“The collapsible baton and the oleoresin capsicum pepper spray are categorized as non-lethal use of force. They have a unique place in our use of force continuum,” Williams said.

“There are some things you can’t replicate,” said Sgt. Robert Maxfield, an MP assigned to the 65th Military Police Company (Airborne).

The MPs go out and are nervous, said Maxfield. But, after being sprayed and completing the obstacles, the officers are able to subdue a suspect with confidence.

Aside from the OC spray, officers are also trained in the importance of by-the-book evidence collection.

“Nearly every crime has some type of evidence to go along with it,” said Williams.

One way officers are instructed to gather evidence is by use of the Terry Frisk search.

“The Terry Frisk is used when an officer has reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and that they may be armed in doing so,” said Williams. “This legal standard provides officers with the legal authority to stop a person and frisk that person for weapons.”

The final event on the training schedule for the LEOC is a culmination of the two-week course: —  patrols, evasive driving techniques and responding to emergency situations, such as domestic violence.

For driving, law enforcement personnel are taught to operate vehicles under emergency conditions, said Williams. First they’re placed in a simulator, which orients the officers to the awareness needed to operate emergency vehicles in real-life conditions.

Law enforcement personnel undergo countless training events in order to ensure that servicemembers, Family members, and civilians on Fort Bragg are kept safe and that laws are followed. The training requires understanding all the laws that apply to the installation and how to deal with people in any situation.

All the hours spent evading cones and processing paperwork equate to one thing — a safer installation for all.