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CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — U.S. Forces Korea wants its military police to conduct joint patrols with the Korean National Police outside U.S. bases across the peninsula.

USFK law enforcement officials visited the KNP headquarters recently to propose the joint patrols, according to Lt. Col. Tom Budzyna, 8th Army spokesman.

Military police from the 2nd Infantry Division already patrol with the KNP in Dongducheon, outside Camp Casey.

And after a spate of recent off-base incidents, 2nd ID officials requested additional joint patrols in Uijongbu, home to Camp Red Cloud and Camp Stanley.

Peninsula-wide patrols, said Budzyna, will “enhance our response capability, improve information sharing and further enhance the positive relationship which we enjoy with the KNP. The KNP is exploring their manpower and ability to support our request.”

USFK chief of staff Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell released a statement Tuesday in which he expressed regret for the incidents that “have resulted in injury to Korean civilians,” and outlined initiatives USFK would take to help minimize future incidents.

Budzyna said senior leaders also are discussing Command Presence Patrols, in which noncommissioned officers and junior officers patrol off-post entertainment districts in addition to military police.

He detailed how the patrols work in Area II.

“Representatives of individual unit leadership also patrol the area during after work hours. Fourteen personnel are tasked daily [two officers, 12 noncommissioned officers] for courtesy patrol, who patrol in four groups of three NCOs and one group of two officers who travel to different venues in the area,” Budzyna said.

The command also is looking at changing rules for granting passes to soldiers wanting leave to stay off-post overnight, he said.

“Passes are a privilege granted by supervisors for work performance,” he said. “Soldiers requesting a pass must submit their … request … no fewer than 10 days before the beginning of their requested pass … Individuals are encouraged to forecast their pass as early as possible. Ordinarily, passes should not be submitted earlier than one month prior to the beginning pass date with their supervisor’s approval.”

Campbell’s release also referred to additional “good neighbor” training.

“All soldiers are briefed and shown a cultural awareness/safety video upon arriving to the Korea Peninsula. All soldiers/civilians are also given cultural awareness and appreciation training biannually on ‘Safety Stand-Down’ and ‘New Horizon’ days,” Budzyna said. “We hold Good Neighbor Program biannual workshops to for senior leaders to develop initiatives for the future. The first workshop was held April of this year. And finally awareness initiatives will be heightened and reinforced by more commercials on AFN and other military publications.”

Budzyna said 8th Army units swept the Army’s Excellence in Community Relations competition in 2004.

“The media attention drawn to … [July’s] isolated acts appropriately brings them to light as issues that will be resolved but disproportionately overshadows the mutual respect and positive relationships we continuously foster with our Korean neighbors,” he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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