Story and photo by Sgt. William Smith
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
A memorandum of understanding to formalize information flow between Fort Carson and local law enforcement agencies was signed at the 4th Infantry Division Headquarters building, Tuesday.
The agreement establishes a relationship between the civilian and military agencies for the specific purpose of sharing information regarding incidents involving Fort Carson servicemembers to ensure accurate, timely and efficient communication, according to the memorandum.
Officials from Colorado Springs, Fountain and Manitou Springs police departments, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol and Fort Carson law enforcement agencies signed the MOU.
“What we are doing here today is nothing new, but it is now formally recognized, and has already saved Soldiers’ lives,” said Lt. Col. Chris Heberer, commander, 759th Military Police Battalion and director of Emergency Services.
“It has helped local law enforcement find criminals, where our Soldiers or Family members were victims, and brought them to justice; (It’s) very powerful,” Heberer said.
He added that the memorandum will allow local law enforcement to better assist Joint Task Force Carson.
“This document is the first of its kind in (U.S. Army Forces Command) and (in the Continental United States); it specifically outlines relationships that will ensure that we protect the 70,000 Soldiers, civilians and Families that work on Fort Carson and live in the surrounding communities,” he said.
Lt. Col. Timothy MacDonald, provost marshal, 4th Infantry Division, said the memorandum will solidify the bond with local law enforcement agencies.
“This MOU can only have a positive effect,” MacDonald said. “What we have done is make our relationship with local law enforcement that much stronger. Now, when something happens off-post involving one of our Families, they should know that we have good processes and relationships in place with local law enforcement and that any issues that happen there will be addressed.”
Pete Carey, chief of police, Colorado Springs Police Department, hopes the document will ease the burden from Soldiers’ minds when they are away from their Families.
“When Soldiers deploy to defend our country, the last thing they need to worry about is if their Family will be protected,” Carey said. “With this memorandum, we will do everything that we can to protect their Family while they are gone. It helps to set the standard of open communication between local law enforcement and Fort Carson, no matter how often their leadership changes.”
MacDonald also said this document will help keep the relationships between Fort Carson and local law enforcement going well into the future.
“We change out frequently on the military side of this, whereas the local law enforcement doesn’t,” MacDonald said. “What this MOU does is formalize those relationships that we build with them, so the next person who fills the role already knows what is going on; it provides continuity with them.”
MacDonald said he wants to ensure people know that the document doesn’t violate Posse Comitatus, the prohibition against using servicemembers as domestic law enforcement. The memorandum is only about strengthening bonds with local law enforcement agencies.