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Tallil joint security force upholds law, order

by Army Master Sgt. Lek Mateo
56th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office

4/14/2005 - TALLIL AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Airmen of the 407th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron have joined forces with military policemen of the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division to uphold law and order here.

The base is an air hub and ground logistical supply point that has a growing population of coalition military and civilians living and working here.

Just like any small town or city in the United States faced with urban sprawl, the base has its share of traffic violations and small crimes, officials said.

This is the first joint Army and Air Force mission here, said Army Maj. Ricky Burns, Joint Forces Police deputy provost marshal, who is in charge of maintaining the law and order here.

Major Burns, of Arlington, Texas, said before they arrived, the base was primarily focused on performing a combat mission.

Now there is emphasis on maintaining the safety and security of everyone on the base, where Soldiers and Airmen make up the majority.

"To have both Army and Air Force law enforcement officers working together is a positive thing," Major Burns said. "It reduces the confusion and frustration on the Soldiers and Airmen out in the field doing their job enforcing the law."

Major Burns said the law enforcement Soldiers and Airmen understand that the job they do is both important and dangerous. They must uphold the law and be the frontline first responders to unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and possible insurgent attacks to the base.

"Even though we're from different branches of the service, as law enforcement officers we have one common bond, and that is to uphold the law," Major Burns said.

Army Sgt. Jessie DeLarosa, of San Antonio, said that he has been an Army MP for about 20 years, and during his career has seen various types of crimes and numerous offenders.

"Sometimes we come across people who don't take us seriously, but we are very serious about our job," Sergeant DeLarosa said. "We are here to enforce the rules and the regulations so that they can have a safe deployment and return home."

The sergeant said that most citations are for traffic violations because some troops are used to driving fast on the highways to avoid being hit by IEDs and snipers.

"We try to make the drivers aware that they are now in an environment that requires them to follow the posted speed limits and adhere to the traffic laws of the base so that they don't cause an accident and injure other people," Sergeant DeLarosa said.

Sergeant DeLarosa and his partner, Airman 1st Class Tom Bauhs, perform other law enforcement duties such as foot patrols around the base living area to look for suspicious activities and thwart criminal acts.

"We want people to know that we are here when we perform our patrols," Sergeant DeLarosa said. "And hopefully we are deterring unlawful acts on base."

Airman Bauhs, who is deployed from the 81st Security Forces Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., has served in security forces for about nine months.

The rookie Airman, of Salt Lake City, said it is good to have diversity in law enforcement and to be able to work with seasoned law enforcement officers such as Sergeant DeLarosa.

"It helps me to progress in my career to be able to work with senior law enforcement officers and learn from their experience," Airman Bauhs said.

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