By Don Branum
| Vermont National Guard Public Affairs | Jan. 19, 2021
Pvt. Jonas Schroeder conducts a traffic stop on the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont, during a task evaluation Jan. 16, 2021. Schroeder and other Soldiers with the 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment are training on law enforcement duties in preparation for a deployment in support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa. (Photo by Don Branum)
Sgt. Katelyn Durfee detains an aggressive individual during a training scenario Jan. 16, 2021, at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont. Scenarios during the training day included a domestic dispute, a traffic stop, and a criminal investigation. (Photo by Don Branum)
Sgt. Katelyn Durfee attempts to break up an argument during a training exercise at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont, on Jan. 16, 2021. Soldiers with the 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment were evaluated on handling domestic disturbances as well as conducting traffic stops and investigating criminal activity. (Photo by Don Branum)
Cpl. Aiden Flynn and Spc. Jamie Burdge compare notes while investigating a stolen cell phone during a training exercise Jan. 16, 2021, at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont. Flynn and Burdge are military policemen with the 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment, which is training in preparation for a deployment to support U.S. Army Europe and Africa. (Photo by Don Branum)
Staff Sgt. Katie Cimmino conducts a guardmount briefing during a 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment training exercise Jan. 16, 2021, at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont. A team with 1st Army's 2-315th Brigade Engineer Battalion evaluated detachment Soldiers on their performance of tasks they will need when they deploy to support U.S. Army Europe. (Photo by Don Branum)
Soldiers with the 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment conduct a DUI traffic stop during a training exercise at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont, Jan. 15, 2021. The detachment's Soldiers are certified in standard field sobriety testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Photo by Capt. Shawn Slaney)
The 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment concluded more than a year of training with an evaluation at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site Jan. 15-16.
Soldiers with the detachment are slated to deploy to support U.S. Army Europe and Africa, where they will conduct customs, traffic enforcement, investigation and force protection duties, said Capt. Shawn Slaney, the detachment commander.
An Observer, Controller and Trainers team from 1st Army’s 2-315th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 174th Infantry Brigade, evaluated the detachment’s Soldiers on a number of scenarios they might encounter during their deployment, including traffic stops, criminal investigations, and interpersonal disputes.
“I would like to say they did exceptionally,” said Staff Sgt. Alicia Foy, one of the evaluators. “Their Soldiers were motivated the entire time we were conducting the classroom instruction, and when they performed the law enforcement exercise, their performance continued to impress.”
The detachment first learned about its deployment tasking in January 2020, said Staff Sgt. Zakery Hunt, the detachment readiness and training NCO. He attended a conference in which 1st Army outlined what tasks the detachment would need to master for the deployment.
The 172nd was reorganized from combat support to law enforcement in 2019, Slaney said. Since then, the unit has received certification on multiple law enforcement-related tasks, including crash reconstruction, drug recognition, speed detection using radar and lidar, and standard field sobriety testing, or SFST.
“I’ve heard of units conducting SFST training from certified instructors, but I’ve never heard of a National Guard law enforcement detachment attaining national certifications for all their Soldiers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Slaney said.
Staff Sgt. Skyler Genest, the deputy provost marshal, was instrumental in the detachment’s training efforts. “He personally organized the resources that allowed our Soldiers to attain the NHTSA certification,” Slaney said. Genest is also the chief of the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery.
Slaney added that partnership with local and state law enforcement agencies helped make these certifications possible.
“We relied heavily on networking with civilian law enforcement,” Slaney said. “We couldn’t have done this without them.”
During the evaluation focused on interpersonal disputes, Soldiers displayed their use of conflict de-escalation methods, using the lowest level of force necessary to defuse the situation.
“We implement interpersonal communication skills into every training event,” Slaney said. “The lowest level, and what I believe is the most important, is officer presence and verbalization, responding to a call in a professional manner and using humility.”
The tools and certifications Soldiers have received during their predeployment training could also help them find careers in civilian law enforcement if they’re not already employed in those fields, Slaney explained.
The detachment’s next step is a full master essential task list evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“We told them many times that they were one of the best units that we’ve trained in the Northeastern Region we work in,” Foy said. “We are confident they’re prepared for their deployment.”