by Ryan Labadens, US Navy Public Affairs

The Security Department onboard Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport held its first Standards of Compliance course from June 10-26, 2019.

According to Maj. Katie Morrison, NCBC Gulfport Security Department training officer, this Commander, Navy Installations Command (NCIC) course is geared toward active-duty U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms personnel and teaches them how to respond to various crimes and security scenarios, and how to properly gather and document evidence during the investigation.

“It’s additional training that they don’t get at any other school-house in the Navy – it has to be taught at the command level,” said Morrison, who noted the course is a mixture of both classroom and hands-on instruction.

This advanced course covers a wide variety of law enforcement topics and security situations, such as traffic accident investigations, active-shooter response, chemical-borne attacks, child abuse/sexual assault response and sexual assault response for adults, to name a few. The instructors also covered basic criminal law, Constitutional law, report writing and crime-scene documentation.

Morrison stressed the importance of proper documentation, especially when the evidence gathered is presented at trial. For example, the evidence custody document is essential because it provides details regarding everyone who handled the evidence.

“If the [evidence custody document] is improperly filled out, evidence can be thrown out of court. You need to be able to prove chain of custody because somebody could have tainted [the evidence], or there could have been some cross-contamination between evidence, so we went over in class the importance of ‘if you touch it, your name goes on that form.’ The last thing you want is to have evidence thrown out and then there’s no way to prove what actually happened,” said Morrison.

On the final day of the course, the 20 students participated in three different scenarios that the instructors had set up in the Security Department’s scenario-based tactical training facility, or shoot house: crime-scene processing for a homicide investigation; an alarm response, where the students respond to an alarm that had been triggered and are on the lookout for unauthorized personnel; and a domestic violence call, where the students would get dispatched to a domestic dispute and respond as the situation changes.

“This lets them get some actual hands-on training,” said Morrison. “It really sets them up for success so that when they go out on a call, they’ll have the tools and confidence to be able to handle that call and do the associated paperwork by themselves. We have a lot of junior people in this class – or some people who came from another installation that wasn’t law enforcement, so this is their first introduction to a law enforcement command – so it’s been really helpful because they’ve learned a lot since they’ve never had the opportunity to do this before.”

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Nathan Haines, one of the students in the course, noted how useful the hands-on scenarios were to applying what he learned in the classroom.

“It was good. I’m glad that we’re doing this in person because if we ever have to do this for a situation in real life, we’ll know what to do for it,” said Haines.