Fort Riley, Kansas

 

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Courtesy patrol keeps Soldiers safe, out of trouble at night

By Suet Lee-Growney | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | August 16, 2017

     The compounding effect of alcohol, loud music and large inebriated crowds can cause evening plans to go awry; this is where the courtesy patrol program comes in. The program is a partnership between 1st Infantry Division and Riley County, Kansas, Police Department to help keep Soldiers safe in the Aggieville business district of Manhattan, Kansas.

     The Soldier volunteers, typically senior noncommissioned officers and officers, patrol the streets of Aggieville at night on the weekends alongside Riley County Police Department patrol officers.

     On the night of Aug. 4, four volunteers from 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, assisted patrol officers Rachel Pate and Garrett Lloyd. A quick brief of how to go about their duties that evening were given to 2nd Lt. Joshua Pultro, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Weber, Troop D, Sgt. 1st Class Chris Taylor from Troop C and 2nd Lt. William Schultz-Rathbun from HHT before they went out into the night.
     During duty, courtesy patrol are not allowed to enter the bars and clubs. Instead, they waited outside while patrol officers scout the premises.

     “Generally we handle the police matter that we are there for first, for crimes committed, anything of that sort — write them a citation, break up a fight, get the information we need for our side of things,” Pate said. “And then we will ask (the Soldier) for their military ID and then we pass it over to courtesy patrol and they take it from there.”

     Courtesy patrol assists RCPD in de-escalating situations involving Fort Riley personnel in a way the patrol officers are unable to do because they don a different uniform. Just by being present during bars peak hours, courtesy patrol stops incidents that could become something more serious from happening and ruining a Soldier’s military career, according to Pate. 

     “Say they need a ride home, they’re more likely to come to us than to a police,” Taylor said. “It’s always good to have a good relationship with the local law enforcement.”

     Weber added the presence of senior noncommissioned officers or officers specifically can be a good deterrence for poor judgement or behavior.

     “Whenever (Soldiers) are seeing senior NCOs or officers here, that might deter them from doing something that they normally wouldn’t whenever they’re sober,” he said.

     Pate said there are three occasions where courtesy patrol would have any interaction with Soldiers. The first of which is when the Soldier has broken the law and gets a citation, then courtesy patrol would release them to staff duty.

     “Most of the time if they’re going to be released to staff duty, it’s (a) misdemeanor offense that we could arrest them for and we decide instead to write them a ticket and let them sign it because they’re saying that they’re going to show up in court,” Pate said. “At that point, we release them to courtesy patrol.”

     The next reason why a Soldier would come in contact with courtesy patrol is if they are very intoxicated and too drunk to be in public anymore.

     “Battle buddies most of the time have left them or if their battle buddies want to keep drinking, but they can’t anymore, so we’ll hook them up with courtesy patrol and they’ll get the drunk Soldier a safe ride home,” she said.

     The final occurrence of courtesy patrol mediation is when tension between a Soldier and another person is starting to build, but nothing has yet happened.

     “That’s the time where courtesy patrol steps in and they’re able to — again if (the Soldier is) willing to — leave,” Pate said. “It’s showed that in years past, if they haven’t been released to a staff duty, they would have gone on in further trouble.”

 

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