Law enforcement professionals urged to communicate early and often
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — For some 100 military and civilian law enforcement professionals in South Korea, at least two loud-and-clear messages already have emerged from their annual conference at the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul this week:
It’s no longer business as usual.
And they must be able to communicate serious incidents involving South Koreans quickly.
This year’s conference theme was “Transforming for a Stronger Alliance.” As military police move off the peninsula under a master plan, said Lt. Col. Howard Hunt, USFK Provost Marshal’s Office operations chief, the command will have to “change how we’re doing business.”
He said Area III, with Camp Humphreys, is a good testing ground for the new system. The 14th Law and Order Detachment there now is working for Area III leadership, he said, and law enforcement units will “rely a lot on what they tell us” and use the input “in the future as we transform.”
The master plan will see the military police reduce from seven to four companies, officials said. That means it “can’t be business as usual,” said Col. Falkner Heard II, senior provost marshal in South Korea and commander of the 8th Military Police Brigade. “Those days are gone.”
Thursday morning, Heard welcomed participants — U.S. and South Korean, military and civilian — to the gathering.
Among points he stressed during his speech was that everyone in the room must be able to communicate serious incidents involving South Koreans to the highest levels of the law enforcement community within 30 minutes of learning of the incident.
If officials on the ground wait too long while trying to collect full information, Heard said, the press might already be on the scene reporting. The key, he stressed, was to report everything available and to update as more information is gathered.
“Do not sit on that information” trying to gather the full story, he said.
Other conference speakers gave presentations on such topics as sexual assault policies, prostitution and human trafficking, law enforcement and operations. On Friday, the final day of the conference, they were expected to give briefings on working group discussions about customs, law enforcement, operations and security.
Heard also introduced Davis D. Tindoll Jr., deputy director of the Installation Management Agency-Korea Regional Office. The relationship between KORO and the law enforcement community will strengthen, officials said, as transformation continues on the peninsula.
The conference, Tindoll said, was a good way to get the right people together to “shape … much-needed discussion” on issues and to enhance existing relationships. “If something doesn’t make sense,” he said, “we need to change it.”