Military Police

SPRING 2014

Military Police contains information about military police functions in maneuver and mobility support, area security, law and order, internment/resettlement, and police intelligence operations.

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MILITARY POLICE . 19-14-1 43 depots, railroad yards, and other locations where large concentrations of equipment and supplies were stored. Investigative personnel throughout the theater were directed to carry concealed weapons. Various suggestions regarding the proper type of weapon were offered. Some agents believed that the M1911 .45-caliber, semiautomatic pistol was too cumbersome and diffcult to conceal and, therefore, suggested that the .32-caliber Colt automatic pistol in a shoulder holster or the .38-caliber Colt Offcial Police or Detective Special Models would be better. 5 Criminal investigation units were not assigned to echelons of command below the army level; however, agents operated within corps and division areas when requested and when operations permitted. This often caused discord between the provost marshals at different echelons of command. At the corps level, provost marshals were responsible for keeping commanding generals informed about the crime situation within their areas and, consequently, demanded case and progress reports from agents. Staff echelons settled these diffculties among themselves. Tens of thousands of Soldiers were court-martialed in the European theater of operations. The branch offce of the Judge Advocate General analyzed the trial records of more than 12,000 offenders who were court-martialed before 8 May 1945. The reasons for the excessive problem population are complex. Many of the offenders joined the Army before beginning their adult lives. Many were good citizens who—except for circumstances peculiar to military life in an active theater— may have lived out their entire lives without experiencing an appearance in a court of law. 6 However, a large percentage of the prison population could have been properly classifed as psychopathic or psychoneurotic. One group of offenders was discovered to have civilian criminal records. These offenders had been found guilty of robbery, burglary, and other felonies in their civilian lives and had repeated these offenses after induction into the Army. Crimes investigated in the European theater of operations included assault, larceny, looting, black market activities, rape, murder, sodomy, and manslaughter. The assault cases almost always included intoxication, and many included the use of weapons (some of which had been issued). Black market activities were rampant in the larger cities, and offenders who carried out those activities were often absent without leave—or were deserters. Rape became a big problem following the invasion of France, with a large increase in the number of rape cases from August to September 1944. A second increase in the number of rape cases took place from March to April 1945, following the large-scale invasion of Germany. Incidents of murder increased gradually after August 1944, with some acceleration in January to February 1945 and a greater increase as troops moved into Germany 2 months later. 7 Many death sentences—most of which were for the crimes of rape and murder—were adjudged in the European theater of operations. However, a relatively small number of those sentenced to death (96) were actually executed. All of those who were executed had been convicted of murder or rape— with one exception (a deserter). The organization and manning of additional criminal investigation detachments continued as the war progressed. By the end of April 1945, 585 agents and 39 supervising offcers were working in the European theater. 8 That same month, it was determined that a mobile crime laboratory capable of offering the scientifc evaluation of evidence in forward areas would be a valuable asset. Captain George R. Bird—an experienced criminalist from Illinois—obtained and outftted a small arm repair truck to enable feld examinations in the areas of ballistics, photography, fngerprinting, handwriting, and chemical analysis. From the beginning of April to 5 July 1945, the mobile laboratory had been used to examine evidence for 91 major crimes. This included the testing of 238 frearms, 228 bullets, and 749 cartridge cases. Laboratory reports and accompanying photographs were used as court exhibits at trial. 9 Criminal investigation detachments in the European theater of operations performed their assigned tasks in admirable fashion, often overcoming shortfalls with equipment and supplies. Based on their frm footing, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), commonly known as CID, has become one of the country's premier investigative agencies and an asset of which the Military Police Corps can be proud. Endnotes: 1 Robert K. Wright Jr., compiler, Military Police, Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1992, , accessed on 10 January 2014. 2 Criminal Investigation, The General Board, U.S. Forces, European Theater, p. 4, , accessed on 10 January 2014. 3 Ibid, pp. 4 and 11. 4 FM 19-5, Military Police, 14 June 1944. 5 Criminal Investigation, p. 11. 6 The Military Offender in the Theater of Operations, The General Board, U.S. Forces, European Theater, p. 1, , accessed on 14 January 2014. 7 Ibid, pp. 6 and 7. 8 Criminal Investigation, p. 4. 9 Criminal Investigation, p. 11. Master Sergeant Garland retired from the U.S. Army in 1974. During his military career, he served in military police units and criminal investigation detachments and laboratories. At the time of his retirement, Master Sergeant Garland was serving as a ballistics evidence specialist at the European Laboratory. He remained in this career feld until retiring from civilian law enforcement in 1995. Garland.1.indd 45 3/21/2014 12:52:22 PM

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