"This type of act not only does unconscionable harm to the victim; it destabilizes the workplace and threatens national security. The department has a no-tolerance policy toward sexual assault. "
--Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates
ARMY law enforcement officers have a message for sexual offenders: watch out because we're coming for you.
According to Russell W. Strand, the chief of the Family Advocacy Law Enforcement Training Division at the U.S. Army Military Police School, and one of the Army's top sexual assault experts, military police officers and Criminal Investigation Command agents undergo comprehensive, highly specialized training to handle sexual assault cases.
In addition to offering a two-week special victims unit course and two-day refresher training at USAMPS, CID brought on 27 civilian special investigators in 2009. They have extensive backgrounds in investigating sexual assaults and are assigned to the installations that have the highest rates of those cases--training posts like Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and large installations like Fort Hood, Texas--and several are even deployed.
Strand, a retired CID agent and former MP, pointed out that unlike most civilian police officers and detectives, military police and CID special agents can't pick their cases.
If a victim wants to make a report, agents must document and investigate it, whether or not the case ever makes it to trial. This, Strand explained, is part of the reason that, on paper, the Army's sexual assault rates may appear high.
"If (a civilian …